Dundalk refuse to address reports coach Filippo Giovagnoli set for exit after day of turmoil

Fans protested that the club is ‘run like a circus’ and manager Shane Keegan resigned earlier today with the club amid a wretched run of results.

Filippo Giovagnoli ahead of tonight's league game with Saint Patrick's Athletic.
Filippo Giovagnoli ahead of tonight's league game with Saint Patrick's Athletic.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated Apr 17th 2021, 10:00 PM

DUNDALK SPORTING DIRECTOR Jim Magilton refused to address reports that coach Filippo Giovagnoli is following manager Shane Keegan out the exit door after another day of turmoil at Oriel Park. 

LMFM today reported that Giovagnoli told the Dundalk players that today’s league meeting with Saint Patrick’s Athletic would be his final game at the club, which followed just hours after multiple reports stating that manager Keegan quit his role at the club yesterday afternoon. 

Speaking to reporters after the 1-1 draw with Pat’s, Magilton said he would only discuss the game, and that all questions related to the positions of Giovagnoli and Keegan would be answered in a statement to be issued “in due course.” 

Asked whether Giovagnoli had left the club, Magilton said, “we will clarify everything in the next few days”, later saying in response to a follow-up question on the same topic that reporters should “say whatever they want.” 

Dundalk came from behind to earn point against Pat’s at Oriel Park this evening, with some supporters protesting outside the gates of the stadium, hoisting banners reading “Ran Like A Circus” and “Tempo di Andare”, the latter meaning “time to go” in Italian. The result leaves Dundalk second-from-bottom in the Premier Division with just two points from five games, with the uncertainty surrounding Giovagnoli likely to continue into Tuesday’s game with Derry City, the only side currently below Dundalk in the table.

One well-placed source told The42 that relations between Giovagnoli and Dundalk’s Sporting Director Jim Magilton are now extremely frosty. If Giovagnoli does depart, former Sligo Rovers manager Gerard Lyttle is reportedly in the frame to take over as manager. 

It emerged earlier this afternoon that Shane Keegan resigned from his position as manager. Though Giovagnoli is understood to have had the greater say on tactics and team selection, Keegan has been front and centre and handled media duties this season as he was the only member of the coaching staff to hold the necessary Uefa Pro Licence qualification. 

It is understood Keegan made his decision to resign around lunchtime yesterday, and has resisted attempts from the club to persuade him to change his mind. 

Giovagnoli left a role as an academy coach in New York to take over at Dundalk when Vinny Perth left the club midway through last season, and oversaw an FAI Cup victory along with qualification for the Europa League group stages last year.

His contract was extended on 8 December last year, with press release accompanying the announcement referring to Giovagnoli as ‘Head Coach.’ In February, however, the club announced Keegan as the club’s manager with Giovagnoli taking a back-seat role, now referred to just as ‘coach’ on the club’s official website. 

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Managers in the Champions League and Europa League are also required to hold the Pro Licence, and Uefa hit Dundalk with a €50,000 fine last year as Giovagnoli was deemed to be ‘shadow coaching’ (Uefa’s term for performing the duties of manager) during a Europa League tie against Rapid Vienna. Ahead of this season, the FAI confirmed they would be cracking down on the same issue. 

Following Keegan’s departure, Magilton was named as interim manager for tonight’s league game with Pat’s. 

With reporting by Garry Doyle and Niall Newberry

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Gavin Cooney

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