Player manager takes over Naas just days before county senior semi-final 1 month ago

Player manager takes over Naas just days before county senior semi-final

Preparation has hardly been ideal for the Naas footballers as, for the first time since 1991, they're aiming to make it back to the Kildare senior final.

Just one hurdle stands between them and a place in the decider yet as they look ahead to this Saturday's county semi-final against Maynooth, they look ahead in the bizarre position of not having a manager on the sideline.

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From the outside looking in, having led the town club to the last four, Paul Kelly was doing a fine job but behind the scenes there have been issues. What these issues are remains to be seen but ultimately, the unrest has resulted in Kelly, who had a successful stint with the Thomas Davis club in Dublin when he managed them to the 2019 county final, walking away from his post.

"Paul Kelly has resigned his position as Naas senior football manager. The club are in a the process of appointing an interim management team for the remainder of the season," read the club's initial statement to the Leinster Leader on Saturday.

26 October 2019; Thomas Davis manager Paul Kelly during the Dublin County Senior Club Football Championship semi-final match between Thomas Davis and Kilmacud Crokes at Parnell Park, Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

And that's when it starts to get interesting. Naas have won each of their four games in the championship to date and in reality, they have won them doing handstands. Johnstownbridge shipped an 11 point beating in the group stages, where Saturday's opponents Maynooth were the only team to get within three points of the now manager-less Naas.

It was just last weekend when they defeated Carbery by seven points on a scoreline of 0-21 to 1-11 in the quarter final but as the club's latest statement, issued to the Leinster Leader this afternoon, shows, a lot can change in a week.

"Naas GAA have put in place a player led management team, managed by Eoin Doyle, for the remainder of the season."

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Doyle is their centre back, he is their talisman and he is more than likely their best player but now, ahead of one of the biggest games in the club's recent history, he has the responsibility of picking the team too. It is believed he will do so along with the club's captain and one of their greatest stalwarts in former Kildare star Eamonn Callaghan but no matter what way you look at it, the circumstances are strange.

One thing's for sure, the goings-on will surely build a siege mentality in the camp and ramp up Naas' desire to prove the doubters wrong even more.