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'I’m honoured to have worked with Liam' - Ger O'Brien to take charge at St Pat's for the remainder of the season

The Inchicore club parted ways with Liam Buckley on Tuesday after seven years in charge at Richmond Park.

Former St Pat's captain and assistant manager Ger O'Brien.
Former St Pat's captain and assistant manager Ger O'Brien.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

GER O’BRIEN will take over as St Patrick’s Athletic manager until the end of the season, following the departure of Liam Buckley after seven years in charge at Richmond Park.

Buckley departed by mutual consent on Tuesday after leading the club to it’s first Premier Division title since 1999, it’s first FAI Cup in 53 years and back-to-back EA Sports Cups.

O’Brien captained the side for three seasons under the 58-year-old and has acted as assistant manager since the beginning of last year.

“It’s very sad,” he said on Buckley’s departure. “Liam has been there for such a long time and we’ve had some great success. The fact that he’s won leagues and he’s won cups — it’s just disappointing.”

“But we’ve got to move on as a club. Everyone thanked Liam, he came into the players today. He thanked them and the players thanked him.

Liam Buckley celebrates with The FAI Ford Cup Buckley ended a 53 year hoodoo to bring the FAI Cup back to Inchicore in 2014. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I’m really honored to have worked with him, because he gave me a great chance as a player and we had a lot of success, and then he introduced me to the coaching as well. So it’s a sad day for the club and for Liam.”

Buckley is the club’s most successful ever manager, collecting six trophies during seven seasons in charge.

The Inchicore club have not competed in Europe since 2016, however, and avoided relegation on the final day of last season following a poor campaign in 2017, with O’Brien admitting that the past two seasons had been difficult.

“Obviously I’ve been close to Liam over the last couple of seasons. We’ve been frustrated as a club because we’ve looked at the likes of Dundalk and Cork and what they’ve gone on to achieve in Europe and domestically and we haven’t reached them heights for different reasons.

“But in fairness to Liam, he never moaned. He stuck to his philosophy, his principles on how he wanted to play. We’ve lost some fantastic players like Jamie McGrath and Sean Hoare and people like that.

“But he always stuck to his philosophies and his principles. It’s such a sad time for everyone involved in the club because, as I said, he delivered a lot of success. Especially the FAI Cup win — he’ll be remembered forever for that.”

O’Brien confirmed that he would be taking charge for the remainder of the current campaign, with his first game being Friday’s Leinster Senior Cup final at Tolka Park against Dublin rivals Shelbourne. 

“There’s not long left in the season, to be fair,” he said. “Rather than bringing anyone in from the outside we can keep the same dynamic and group going forward. A new manager coming in would have to get to know the players again. We’ve five games left, starting with Shels in the Leinster Senior Cup final on Friday.

“So it will be business as usual. We trained today (Tuesday) and as footballers that’s what they do — they just turn up and they want to play football. It’s very sad from my point of view and the club’s point of view with Liam, but we’ll move on and that’s what we need to do.”

Ger O'Brien lifts The FAI Cup O'Brien captained St Pat's for three seasons and was appointed assistant to Buckley last season. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

When asked if he would be interested in taking over as St Pat’s manager full-time, the 34-year-old said that he would speak with club owner Garrett Kelleher in the future, but that he still had more to learn after only retiring from playing in at the end of 2016.

“To be honest I’ve applied for my pro licence and that’s something that I want to do. I’ve worked with Liam for so long as a player and as a coach,” he said.

“Obviously I’ll speak to Garrett going forward but I’m still quite young, I’m still learning the game from a coaching perspective and there are so many good managers out there that are not in a job.

“So I’ll just do my best for the club over the next couple of weeks. We’ll try and win as many games as possible and then we can sit down at the end of the season and see what way the club is going forward.” 

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Aaron Gallagher

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