League of Ireland side Limerick fail in audacious Roy Keane bid

League of Ireland side Limerick fail in audacious Roy Keane bid

Limerick tried and failed to land Roy Keane in an ambitious move at the start of the process that ended with Neil McDonald appointed as the Premier Division club's new manager.

Englishman McDonald took his first training session as Limerick boss yesterday and will be in the dugout for the visit of Dundalk tonight.

Limerick parted company with Martin Russell on April 3 and took their time to find a replacement.

The Irish Independent has learned that Ireland assistant boss Keane was at the top of their list, as Limerick tried to tempt him to the club with a financial package that would have made him the best-paid manager in League of Ireland history.

It's believed that they were prepared to pay the Corkman a figure in excess of €250,000 per year.

Keane did attend Limerick's Premier Division match with Drogheda United on April 15 but the approach ultimately came to nothing.

The 45-year-old has made it clear that he wants to return to management at some stage but he is happy in his current post and combining the two roles would have been difficult if he had decided to accept Limerick's lucrative offer.

He is paid in the region of €500,000 per annum by the FAI and is viewed as a possible successor to Martin O'Neill.

The Shannonsiders received additional support over the winter from a new investor and they have increased their budget with a view to challenging at the right end of the table.

McDonald - who has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract - is an interesting appointment.

He has previously managed Blackpool, Carlisle and Swedish side Ostersunds, while the 51-year-old former top-flight player has also worked under Sam Allardyce at Bolton, Blackburn and West Ham.

"I'm really pleased to be given the opportunity to manage a great club like Limerick," said McDonald yesterday. "The aspirations of where the club want to get to is a great project and a project I want to be heavily involved with.

"We want to win as many games as we can to possibly can to try and force our way into the top three if we possibly can to get to Europe. That's an achievable goal this season, something we will be striving to do.

"We're trying to push Limerick into being an A-star football club, all the way through from youth to first team. Looking at videos of the team they look as though they can handle the ball and they want to play in the right way which is great, and hopefully I can add to that."

McDonald spoke to Allardyce before taking the post. The Crystal Palace boss kicked off his managerial career at Limerick in 1991 and led them to the First Division title.

Daniel McDonnell