Frank Dawson handed second year as Antrim football manager

Antrim football manager Frank Dawson

Frank Dawson will remain on as Antrim football boss for another year despite the county's struggles in 2013.

The Saffrons suffered relegation to Division 4 of the Football League and lost both their championship outings against Monaghan and Louth.

Dawson was ratified for a second season in charge at a county board meeting on Monday night.

The Antrim meeting also ratified the appointment of hurling manager Kevin Ryan for a second year at the helm.

Ryan's Antrim side retained their Division 1B status after mixing some impressive performance with a couple of disappointing displays but they exited from the Championship earlier than they would have hoped when they were beaten by Wexford in the qualifiers.

However, the main talking-point arising from the Antrim meeting will be Dawson's re-appointment.

Gearoid Adams and Lenny Harbinson were linked with the role in recent weeks but in the end, Dawson held on to his job.

There are reports that Dawson was re-appointed after a tight vote on Monday night although this has not been confirmed.

Dawson took over last autumn after Liam Bradley's resignation but the manager has endured a difficult opening season in charge.

After a promising start to the Football League as they defeated Cavan, the Saffrons then collapsed to suffer relegation to Division 4.

The build-up to the Ulster Championship was over-shadowed by the absence of a number of previous regulars including Cargin trio Tony Scullion, Tomas McCann and Michael McCann.

Michael McCann declared himself unavailable because of work commitments but his brother Tomas and Scullion exited from the panel amid controversy.

Scullion and Tomas McCann were told not to attend the final Football League game against Monaghan in April after they were unable to travel on the team bus from Belfast.

The duo wished to travel together to Clones because they were attending an anniversary mass for a deceased uncle.

Scullion subsequently suggested that he would not be available to Dawson again and McCann also didn't return for the Championship.

In addition, James Loughrey's decision to switch inter-county allegiance to Cork was also a blow that the Saffrons could have done without.

Meanwhile, Justin McNulty has stepped down as Laois football manager.

The former Armagh defender has had three years in charge of the O'Moore County and led them to last year's All-Ireland quarter-finals.

McNulty guided Laois to promotion to Division 1 of the Football League in 2011 but this year his team suffered a heavy defeat by Louth in the Leinster Championship and were beaten by Donegal in the final round of qualifiers.

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