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Portadown captain Keith O'Hara fills void as Ports hunt for new manager

By Stuart McKinley

Published 08/03/2016

Portadown captain Keith O'Hara has been asked to step into the breach after the resignation of long-serving manager Ronnie McFall.

O'Hara, who is the club's longest serving player having made his debut in 1999, is to oversee first-team training this evening while the club try to buy some time ahead of Saturday's Premiership meeting with Coleraine.

The Shamrock Park board have advertised the post, which was vacated by McFall after 29 years in charge in the wake of Saturday's shock Irish Cup quarter-final defeat to Championship 1 side Lurgan Celtic, but with a closing date for applications being set for March 26 they won't have a new man in charge before the weekend.

One of the essential criteria laid down is a Uefa Pro Licence, or for the applicant to be in the process of obtaining one.

There is no confirmation as yet to who will be in charge on Saturday, but 35-year-old O'Hara could well be asked to fill in then as well.

A statement from the board read: "Following tonight's board meeting it has been agreed that Keith O'Hara along with senior backroom staff and two senior players will take tomorrow night's training session.

"Further clarification on future arrangements will be released shortly."

Meanwhile, Portadown fans are the latest to turn on the club's players in the wake of McFall's resignation as manager.

Following club chairman Roy McMahon declaring that 'the players let him (McFall) down a bucketful' supporters have launched a scathing attack on the playing staff.

The team were booed off both at half-time and at the end of Saturday's Cup exit.

Ronnie McFall
Ronnie McFall
Ronnie McFall 1972
Ronnie McFall 1966
Ronnie McFall 1979
Ronnie McFall 1973
Ronnie McFall 1974
Portadown manager Ronnie McFall (left Back Row) pictured with his victorious double winning team in 1991.
Portadown boss Ronnie McFall still looks pensive even though his team are 3-1 up against Linfield during the Irish Premier league game at Shamrock Park in Portadown in 2002.
Portadown manager Ronnie McFall celebrates with the Irish Cup at Windsor Park in Belfast in May 2005.
Glentoran Manager Ronnie McFall. 8/9/84.
Portadown manager Ronnie McFall takes the plaudits from the fans after winning the Bass Irish cup in 1991 to go along with the League title
Ronnie McFall Portadown boss celebrates a 5-1 win over Larne at Windsor park in 2005.
Portadown manager Ronnie McFall with his ace striker Vinnie Arkins in their 3-1 victory over Cliftonville in April 2002
Portadown's long serving manager Ronnie McFall MBE in December 2007.
PACEMAKER BELFAST Portadown manager Ronnie McFall with the 1996 Irish Premier Championship
Northern Ireland Supremo Billy Bingham chats to Glentoran manager Ronnie Mcfall. 1982
Ronnie McFall 1995
Ronnie McFall receives his manager of the year award in 1991
Ronnie McFall.
Ronnie McFall, the Portadown Mnager, celebrates his team success as they lifted the Nationwide Iirsh Cup, against Larne at Windsor Park today 7/05/05/
Ronnie McFall Portadown Manager. 3-4-1999
Ronnie McFall in 1992
Danske Bank Irish Premier League - Ballymena United v Portadown FC at Ballymena Showgrounds. August 2014. Picture by John McIlwaine/Presseye.com
Danske Bank Premiership. Portadown v Cliftonville. November 2014.
Portadown v Glenavon November 2014.
Ronnie McFall:Football/After recieving his MBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Pictured with his wife.
Ronnie McFall and wife Anne. Portadown manager with the Irish League Cup. 28/3/1991
Carrick v Portadown. October 2015 Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Portadown v Ballymena United. October 2014.
Portadown's Ronnie McFall August 2015 Picture by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.com
Portadown FC v Warrenpoint Town November 2013.
Portadown manager Ronnie McFall March 2013 in a game against Coleraine.
Danske Bank Premiership, Portadown v Donegal Celtic at Shamrock Park. Portadown manager Ronnie McFall. January 2013
Ronnie McFall and wife Anne. Portadown manager with the Irish League Cup. 28/3/1991
Portadown's Ronnie McFall 28th February 2009.
Portadown v Crusaders Danske Bank Premiership. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Portadown v Linfield Carling Premiership, May 2010. Photo Charles McQuillan/PacemakerPACEMAKER BELFAST
Dungannon Swifts Vs Portadown. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Portadown v Glenavon 26th December 2006. Portadown manager Ronnie McFall, left, receives a present from the club's chairman, Roy McMahon, for 20 years service.
Linfield v Portadown, 27th October 2012 - Brian Little/ Presseye
Portadown's Ronnie McFall gets a kiss from David Jeffrey ahead of a clash between Linfield and Portadown.
Ronnie McFall:Football/After recieving his MBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Pictured with his wife.
Portadown's manager Ronnie McFall after Lurgan Celtic were awarded a penalty during the game at Shamrock Park, Portadown. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Portadown's manager Ronnie McFall after his final game against Lurgan Celtic. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Portadown's manager Ronnie McFall during his final game at Shamrock Park, Portadown. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Portadown's manager Ronnie McFall at his final game at Shamrock Park, Portadown. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

The Portadown Supporters Society (PSS) released a statement paying tribute to McFall, but also hit out at the players.

Their statement read: "We would like to put on record our sincere disappointment at the attitude and commitment of many of our players this season.

"Supporters demand 100 per cent commitment when players pull on a red shirt.

"This has sadly been lacking this season from many players. We feel they have let the manager and most importantly the supporters down, which is unacceptable."

On McFall's unprecedented success, the PSS said: "The PSS would like to put on record their appreciation for departing manager Ronnie McFall MBE following his resignation.

"While we feel the time was right for Ronnie to stand aside for the good of the club and to allow progression, we will not forget the success he brought to the club and the town during his tenure.

"He made supporters' wildest dreams come true with four league titles and three Irish Cups among a total haul of 23 trophies in his time as manager, the pinnacle being a double in 1991."

Belfast Telegraph

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