FOOTBALL: UUJ hunt for new boss after O’Neill resigns

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Division 1B club UUJ are on the lookout for a new manager following the resignation of Brian O’Neill after just a few months in the job.

O’Neill had taken over from Shane McCullough during the close season.

An ex-player, he had spent the early half of 2015 in charge of the Seconds and admitted: “I was already at the club, I knew how things were, only I just didn’t expect to lose most of last year’s first-team and it was hard getting new players in.”

O’Neill’s brother, Kevin, remains a key cog in the UUJ midfield but from last season, the side have lost players of the calibre of Lyons, Scollay, Devlin, Magennis and McKeown.

Holding the fort in the interim is O’Neill’s number two Gerard Mailey, who is happy to remain with the club in some capacity, along with coach Kyle Ferguson.

Fra Miskelly had led UUJ to their highest ever Amateur League finish in 1A but after his departure, Darrach Teague, Stevie McIvor, Shane McCullough and O’Neill have all had their stints in the managerial hot seat.

The club slipped through the relegation trap door last season, even though their total of 25 points would normally have saw them well past the safety post. It came after McCullough had gone everso close to turning the tide, winning half his games in charge.

Another season, another division and UUJ are still bottom of 1b, albeit less than half way through their league programme.

And, as chairman Richard Murphy told the Times: “There’s still a lot of football still to be played, such as forthcoming six-pointers against Ballywalter who are just ahead of us in the table. And we’re trying to get some players back to the club.

“Gerard has done a great job keeping the club ticking over, but we really need a manager.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for an ambitious and motivated manager to take charge of a forward-looking intermediate level club with significant potential.

“Ourselves and Queen’s have surely the best facilities in the country and a new manager will surely appreciate that. The big focus for us is to stay in 1B.”

Anyone interested should contact Richard at richardmurphy1980@sky.com or by telephone on 07763 005551. The deadline for applications is 5 pm on Friday, January 8 2016.