Ballybay manager Jerome Johnston Sr to sit out family reunion with Kilcoo

Monaghan champions Ballybay meet Down champions Kilcoo in the Ulster quarter-final on Sunday

Jerome Johnston will not be on the Ballybay sideline for this Sunday’s Ulster SFC quarter-final against his home club, Kilcoo.

The Ballybay joint manager has three sons – Shealan, Ryan and Jerome Junior – and six nephews involved with the Down champions. He did not speak publicly after last Saturday’s win over Crossmaglen Rangers but did inform the Ballybay players he would be stepping aside for the match against Kilcoo in Clones. His fellow joint manager, Mark Doran, is set to take full control for this weekend’s game.

Speaking to BBC Sport NI, Johnston confirmed he had left the Ballybay WhatsApp group and added it had always been earmarked that he would not be involved should such a situation arise with regards to plotting against his home club.

“Before I even met with Ballybay, it was made clear I couldn’t coach against Kilcoo,” Johnston told BBC.


“I’ve had messages from both sets of players, messages that I value so much I cannot even explain. But, how could I manage against my own children?

“I’ve stepped back, I won’t be coaching Ballybay against my club and I’ve removed myself from the WhatsApp group.

“I informed the players after the Crossmaglen game. It was emotional and I am torn, but I just couldn’t manage against my own children.”

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times