A miserable weekend for Wexford Youths has been compounded with the news that manager Shane Keegan has left the club and moved to Galway United.
Youths were relegated to the Airtricity League First Division following a 3-2 playoff loss to Drogheda United, while their women’s team was hammered 5-0 by Shelbourne in Sunday’s WFAI Cup Final.
Following a few days of rumours, it was confirmed on Sunday that boss Shane Keegan had departed the club and will remain in the Premier Division next season as Galway United boss.
The 34-year-old had been in charge of Youths for five years and also worked as the club’s Commercial Manager, and he guided them to the top flight for the first time in 2015.
Galway finished ninth in the Premier Division and sacked previous manager Tommy Dunne at the end of September.
I have always seen Galway United as a fantastic club with massive potential. Having met with the chairman and members of the board, it was exciting to hear the plans that they have for the club for the coming years and I am delighted to be given the opportunity to play a role in driving those plans forward.
The facilities, both in terms of training ground and the stadium at Eamonn Deacy Park, are second to none. Their underage structure is one of the best in the country and saw them reach the under-19 final this season. This shows the level of the young talent at the club.
The news was initially leaked last Friday, the day of Youths’ playoff second leg clash with Drogheda, and Chairman Mick Wallace has released a strongly worded statement condemning the actions of Galway United.
Wallace wished Keegan well in the new role but described his employers as “grossly unprofessional” for partaking in what he describes as a “blatant breach of League of Ireland rules”.
The outspoken Wexford Independent TD also confirmed that Youth will be lodging a formal complaint to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) with a view to receiving some form of compensation.
You can read Mick Wallace’s statement in full below:
It’s been a difficult few days for all involved with Wexford Youths FC.
On Friday morning, the day of the biggest game in WYFC history, one that would determine whether the club could retain its place in the Premier Division of LOI, or not, the word spread that a rival League of Ireland club was about to announce the appointment of Shane Keegan as their manager. For this news to spread on such a day, let alone the fact that Keegan was under contract to Wexford Youths FC for another year, was grossly unprofessional on the part of Galway United and a blatant breach of League of Ireland rules. WYFC shall be lodging a formal complaint with the FAI and seeking adequate compensation.
The club would like to thank Shane Keegan for his 5 years at the helm culminating in our winning the First Division in 2015 and presiding over our first ever season in the Premier Division. The club made huge strides during this period and while deeply unhappy with the manner of Shane’s departure, the club will continue to hold him in high regard, and wish him well.
The club would like to thank the players and the coaching staff for their hard work and absolute commitment in their efforts to keep the club in the top division. Alas, following the 3-0 defeat in Drogheda, it was not to be.
While this is a setback to our Senior team, and the club’s development, the rebuilding process must start straight away. Wexford Youths is a special club, and we intend to keep it so. We need to move on, and select a new manager as quickly as possible, no time can be wasted as we prepare for the new season in the First Division. We now invite expressions of interest for our senior managerial position – Applications should be sent to our club Secretary Terry Cooke, by Friday 18th of November (email@example.com).
Today’s Cup Final defeat of our Senior Women’s side, losing 5-0 to Shelbourne has added to a difficult weekend, but our players could not be faulted for effort – they were beaten by a better side, and can consider themselves unfortunate not to have scored a few goals themselves. Their achievement in reaching the final for the second year running should not be underestimated, and they are still very much in the running for the League title.
The Wexford Youths club is now ten years old, not many of the experts back then thought we’d still be around ten years later – Well, get used to it, we’re here for the long term, and remain determined to show that our social, community project will remain a sustainable one. Forza Youths….
— Galway United (@GalwayUnitedFC) November 6, 2016