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Sam Allardyce's former assistant named as new Limerick boss

Neil McDonald, who previously managed Blackpool, takes over at the Blues on a two-and-a-half year deal.

Neil McDonald has extensive experience managing and coaching in England.
Neil McDonald has extensive experience managing and coaching in England.

Updated at 19.30

SAM ALLARDYCE’S FORMER assistant Neil McDonald has been confirmed as the new manager of Limerick.

The Blues had been on the lookout for a new manager since the departure of Martin Russell “by mutual consent” back in April, with Willie Boland looking after first-team affairs on an interim basis recently.

Ex-Barnet manager Kevin Nugent, as well as former Newcastle and Everton star Steve Watson, were also understood to be under consideration for the role.

As well as working with Allardyce, who himself had a stint in the Limerick hotseat during the early ’90s, McDonald is a former Newcastle and Everton player.

Previous jobs have included stints as boss at Carlisle United, Östersunds FK and Blackpool, with mixed results.

He was part of Allardyce’s backroom staff at both Bolton and Blackburn, while he also worked as Iain Dowie’s assistant at Crystal Palace.

Most recently, he was Mike Phelan’s number two at Hull City, but left the Tigers back in January after the former Man United coach was sacked.

I’m very, very impressed with what the club is trying to do and how it’s trying to progress. I’m sure it’s one of the clubs in Ireland that is on the up. I would like to be part of that to push it on to a new level – that’s why I’ve come. I’ve committed myself to the club on a long-term project,” McDonald said during today’s press conference.

“I’ve been impressed with how they’re trying to go about it, but at the end of the day the team has to win and it’s my responsibility to make sure that the team wins – try to play exciting football but win games. The level that the club is trying to get to is certainly achievable and hopefully I can deliver that.

“I’m really, really pleased to be given the opportunity to manage a great club like Limerick. Everybody I’ve spoken to and I’ve been involved with since I came across on Monday speaks very, very highly of the football club.

We’re trying to push Limerick into being an A-star football club, all the way through from youth to first team. The aspirations of where they want to get to is a great project and certainly one that I want to be heavily involved with, to leave a legacy and push the club to boundaries that they’ve been before but it was a long time ago. We want to get back to that as quickly as we possibly can. It’s certainly achievable.

“I’m really excited about the challenge. Looking at videos of the team they look as though they can handle the ball and they want to play in the right way which is great, and hopefully I can add to that.”

McDonald also revealed he had spoken to his former colleague Allardyce prior to taking the job.

He has always spoken very, very highly of Limerick in lots of years gone by when he was here. He said it’s a progressive football club and certainly as a coach and manager it’s nice to come to a progressive club when it gives you a chance to succeed.”

Willie Boland will remain in charge for Friday’s game at home to Dundalk, but McDonald will take his place on the bench alongside the former Cardiff star.

“They’re Champions but they have lost a few players,” the incoming manager said. “We have to make sure that we compete and that we’re well prepared. Willie will be in charge – I’ll be on the touchline, having an input on that. I’m certainly not sitting in the stand, that’s for sure. We’ll look forward to the game and trying to compete against the Champions of last year.”

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