By Damian Dolan
New London senior football manager Michael Maher has promised to do “everything in his power” to bring success to the county.
Maher was ratified as the successor to Ciaran Deely at Monday night’s county board meeting at McGovern Park, Ruislip.
Maher, who manages Round Towers, becomes the county’s first London-born manager.
Maher was part of Deely’s management set-up this year, which saw London give Galway a fright in the Connacht Championship.
Maher has agreed a two-year deal to be reviewed after 12 months.
“It’s a great honour and I feel very privileged to be handed the manager’s role,” said Maher.
“It’s long been an ambition of mine to have this challenge and I can assure you I’m going to work tirelessly to deliver a county team that every London supporter can be proud of.
He continued: “I’ll be working hard to ensure that the best footballers, and those with the necessary commitment, aptitude and desire, will be representing the London football team in 2020 and beyond.
“I’ll be committed to developing the homegrown players and giving them the chance to represent their county when they’re ready.
“I would urge all clubs to encourage their best players to make themselves available to the county set up.”
As a club manager, he took over Round Towers in 2016 and guided the south Londoners to back-to-back senior championship semi-final appearances in the following two years, as well as to Division 2 league success this year.
He was also in charge of the Towers ladies team which last Saturday reached its first-ever All-Britain final – in just its third year competing as a club – only to lose out narrowly to Parnells.
Maher has also enjoyed Féile huge success with south London, taking them up to Division 1, and previously enjoyed a successful spell in soccer management with Redhill Football Club.
Addressing delegates at Monday’s bard meeting, Maher also offered his “support” to the London underage development squads in order to ensure county’s “most talented youngsters” stay in the system and have a clear pathway to play for London, either at senior of junior level.
Maher stressed his commitment to working “closely” with the London junior manager (Stephen Lynch) to help ensure a strong player turnout, and that the team is well prepared for the All-Britain championship.
London last won the provincial inter-county title in 2009.
“I see the junior team as a fantastic development ground for younger London-born players looking to make their mark at inter-county level,” said Maher.
Martin McGrath, who has worked with Maher at Towers and with Louth London, will be one of his selectors/coaches. McGrath previously worked under former Exiles boss Noel Dunning.
Maher and Tir Chonaill Gaels’ Paul Coggins were the only two candidates interviewed for the vacant London position.
Greg McCartan, who led Fulham Irish to a senior title in 2017, and former Leitrim manager Barney Breen both pulled out of the running before the interview stage.