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Football: Keely: City players are pampered.

Byline: GARRY DOYLE

DERMOT KEELY walked out of Derry on Thursday and then blasted the club for pampering their players. Keely's short and unhappy spell in charge of Derry ended on Thursday night with defeat to UCD at the Brandywell. After 10 games and no wins he resigned. And so yesterday Keely boarded a plane for America for a short break in Michigan but before departing, he left a stinging criticism of his former players. "They were pampered," said Keely. "And I don't like that in players. Derry are not ready for success and on Thursday you could see that UCD had guys who loved the game and we did not. "With the exception of a few senior players there weren't guys there who were willing to battle and scrap. "The place is going nowhere and when I took the job I said then that I would walk out if I didn't get things going right. "Well I haven't. And I had no intention of taking money under false pretences. "After Thursday I couldn't see how I could change things around, and I was not going to stay until the end of the season and take any more abuse from the fans." And so he quit - leaving assistant boss Gavin Dykes, and Hugh Harkin, in charge of the team. They are likely to remain in place until Thursday's game against Drogheda and may even stay until the end of the season. However, Harry McCue, unemployed since Drogheda sacked him last month, Coleraine's Marty Quinn, and former Derry assistant, John Cunningham, are outside candidates for the post. The early favourite for the post on a long-term basis is Jimmy McGeough, who is set to part company with Waterford. The board meet this weekend to decide what direction they will take. And with 14 games left this season, Derry could still survive, even though they are second last in the league. As for Keely it looks likehe may be on his way out of football for good. The most successful manager of his generation, Keely landed four league titles since taking over at Shamrock Rovers from Jim McLoughlin 17 years ago. Success there was followed by another league with Dundalk in 1995, and two more with Shels in 2000 and 2002. However, that second league win preceded his resignation as Shels manager, coming as a result of St Pat's being docked 15 points for fielding an ineligible player. He hinted then that he would walk away from the game for good - before Kildare County persuaded him to start there last season. They may yet convince him to return to Station Road - and if rumours are to be believed, he could soon be in charge of Rovers as well. However, there is a strong possibility that he won't return at all. A source close to Keely said: "That could be it for him. This may be the last we'll see of Dermot Keely in a manager's seat."

CAPTION(S):

GONE: Dermot Keely quit Derry after 10 games; QUINN: Linked with post
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 27, 2003
Words:508
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