THE Limerick senior footballers are on the look-out for a new coach after Ephie Fitzgerald departed to take over as Cork minor football manager.
The Nemo Rangers man was appointed as Maurice Horan’s right hand man just 12-months ago and along with selector Joe Lee the trio led Limerick to a first ever championship appearance in Croke Park this Summer.
Also departing the Limerick back room team is physical trainer Ray Egan, who has emigrated to the US.
Limerick manager Maurice Horan confirmed Fitzgerald’s departure this week and also revealed that Andrew O’Neill was to be the new physical trainer.
A native of Cooraclare in west Clare, O’Neill worked with John McIntrye’s Galway senior hurlers last year as well as been involved with Munster rugby.
O’Neill continues to play club football in Clare and lined out at midfield for his club against Kilmurry Ibrickane in the quarter-final of this season’s championship.
“Ephie is a big loss and he did a great job for us,” Maurice Horan told LeaderSport.
“It took a while to mould everything but around the Cavan league game everything clicked into place,” he recalled.
“We have been very lucky to have had two very good coaches and we need to find someone up to that standard again,” said Horan, recalling the input of Donie Buckley and Fitzgerald in recent seasons.
“We won’t rush into any decisions,” he added.
“We are just getting the panel together at the moment and will get the weights programmes out to everyone,” explained Horan.
Already Horan knows that he will be planning without two members of the 2011 panel with midfielder Thomas Lee emigrated to Australia and attacker Eoin Hogan departed for New York.
Indeed the Na Piarsaigh man could very well play in the Connacht championship as it is understood that he intends to transfer to the American club.
But on the flip side, it is hoped that Padraig Browne could return to the county in the New Year and that Andy Lane will recover fully from a hip operation.
Horan also confirmed that John Galvin’s cruciate ligament operation was successful.
“It all went well and he is on track and just going through the rehab process at the moment,” said the Limerick manager.
It is hoped that Galvin will be back ready for the opening rounds of the Allianz Football League when they face opposition from Fermanagh, Leitrim, Waterford, Wicklow, Clare, Carlow, Kilkenny and London in Division Four.
Then in the 2012 championship, Limerick face Waterford in the quarter-final of the provincial competition with the winners to play Clare in the semi-final.
Elsewhere, Maurice Horan has confirmed that he won’t be involved with the Limerick U-21 footballers this season.
Horan worked with both the senior and U-21 sides last year but for 2012 is to concentrate on the senior role.]
The Limerick Football Board are currently looking to appoint an U-21 management and interviews are to take place in the coming week with a view to confirming an appointment before the end of the month.
Indeed it is understood that the intention is to combine the U-21 and junior football management roles, as has been successfully done at hurling in recent seasons.
Among the front runners is understood to be Galbally’s Johnny Cummins.
Niall Crowley (who was involved for the last two seasons) and Jerry Molyneaux are also understood to have been nominated for the joint manegment roles.
He previously served as a Tipperary senior and U-21 selector under John Evans and has guided Galbally’s fortunes for the last two seasons - winning the intermediate title last season.