LIMERICK FC Chairman Pat O’Sullivan says Martin Russell will remain on as team manager for 2016 as the Blues target an immediate return to the SSE Airtricity League’s Premier Division.
Limerick FC’s three-year stay in the top flight was dramatically ended at Finn Park, Ballybofey on Friday night following their heart-breaking 2-0 extra time, play-off defeat to Finn Harps.
Seventeen-year-old substitute BJ Banda headed home the decisive goal in the 116th minute to give the Co Donegal side a precious 2-1 aggregate win just as the tie looked destined to be settled by a penalty shoot-out.
Martin Russell was appointed Limerick FC manager in July 2014.
Pat O’Sullivan said: “I went into the dressing room and spoke to the players. I said that, as a human being, if I could suck the pain out of them and take it away, I would do it. But it is raw and hurtful.
“We have to look at where this club is after coming from and we have to think of the future. I told the players they had created something special with their efforts which no one gave them a chance of achieving over the past two months.
“As regards the future, I met Martin (Russell) the week before last and I told him he was staying. He wants to stay. We are working in the background to create a sustainable financial model for the club.
“I told the players the manager is staying.
“The manager has been given the authority long before tonight to retain the best players that he wants to retain, to rebuild the team in order that when it comes back up we come back up really strong.
“I went as far as to say to the players that as men, I would expect them - because I know there are people (from other clubs) smelling around them - let no player leave this club for €50 or €100 euros a week to go somewhere. I think this is a club which is really going somewhere.”