Foster takes over as Kenna departs

In a dramatic and suffen move, Galway United have been forced to appoint a new manager after Jeff Kenna resigned to take over St Patrick’s Athletic.

United assistant Ian Foster now has been handed the reins following hasty United boardroom meetings yesterday.

Just when all the rumour and speculation seemed set to cease, a job became available at Richmond Park, and yesterday Kenna made his move. It came just weeks after the former Ireland international had committed to United for the 2009 season, having applied for several positions domestically and in the UK, where his family is based.

However on Tuesday it emerged Kenna was looking elsewhere when a series of meetings with United footballers regarding contracts was scheduled. Kenna failed to show and only assistant Ian Foster arrived in the west.

Now the 32-years-old Foster, who joined Galway United with Jeff Kenna from Kidderminster Harriers in April, will take charge on a two-year contract. Foster, who will be based in Galway, has already moved swiftly to sign Derek O'Brien from St Patrick's Athletic. He will appoint his backroom team in the coming days.

"We made enormous progress in the second-half of last season and we will be looking to continue that and make a strong start to the new campaign," he said after his appointment yesterday.

According to United, the club was “ extremely disappointed” to lose Kenna, particularly after he made a commitment in December.

On that day (December 18 )Kenna stated: "I had a number of things to consider since the end of the season and I am grateful to Galway United for allowing me the opportunity to do that.  The best thing at this stage is to build on the progress we have made at Galway United and to that end I am really looking forward to the start of the new season."

However CEO Nick Leeson says Foster is respected by the players.

"The players know and respect Ian and know that he was more than a key part in last season's recovery and his appointment assures continuity. with this development.”

A former player with Liverpool, Hereford United, Chester City and Kidderminster Harriers, Foster, who trained as a physio after retiring from the game, says pre-season training will start on the week commencing January 26 and that a training camp in Ireland has been organised.

Pre-season friendlies and new signings are expected to be announced shortly.

It is understood Seamus Conneely, Jonathan Keane, Vinny Faherty, and Alan Murphy are among those believed to have held talks with United.

Having already lost the services of the pacy Derek Glynn to Longford Town and Marc McCulloch, who has joined Arbroath in Scotland, and with Sligo Rovers rumoured to be interested in John Russell, United are entering a critical phase.

A number of players with junior clubs and others with League of Ireland experience who are based in Galway have apparently been invited to an upcoming trial game as United must endure another taxing few months.


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