Connor moves west in coaching merry-go-round

Connor has the ‘drive and ambition that is probably unrivalled in the league’ says United CEO

Galway United is seeking to inject some much-needed stability with the appointment of its third coach in two years.

Sean Connor, unveiled this week, has signed a three-years contract after taking over from Ian Foster who replaced the Belfast man at Dundalk in the coaching merry-go-round.

Connor, whose recent mangerial experience includes Sligo, Bohemians, and Dundalk, begins training on Saturday with “survival” as his initial ambition. Joining him on the management team will be Gareth Gorman and Billy Clery.

The 42-years-old says United presents a challenge that is attractive.

“It’s a massive challenge - the biggest as a coach and manager. I am well aware of the situation with resources, but the whole League of Ireland is facing a challenge now and in my opinion this is a club in a big city and there is no reason why we will not be challenging for honours in the next couple of years.

“There is a challenge to build a club from the bottom. The fact that I am in total charge of football side of the business is what excited me.”

Those limited resources were critical in Connor’s appointment, according to CEO Nick Leeson, who said Connor had an “outstanding knowlege of football management”.

“ He has the drive and ambition that is probably unrivalled in the league - above all he is an excellent coach. It is probably fair to say during the coming sason we have limited resources at our disposal so his coaching knowledge will very much come to the fore and hopefully drive us to the next level.”

Connor says he turned down coaching offers including in the US and Africa to stay in Ireland and as a result he will move his family to the west of Ireland.

“I have always lived in the area where I have worked. I don’t think you can be an integral part of the football club or build a club if you travel in and out, so I will be living in Galway.”

Having already met with several players, Connor says United will always have a core of locals.

“This area is synonymous with producing good young footballers, and we have to tap into it. One of the things I have to do is ensure the people of the city and county realise we are the premier club in this area and make sure the players know that as well

“We should be the top club for young players to come and play for. It’s not just about the first team, but the whole football club. My job now is to help build and establish a club around the Galway United brand.”

Séamus Conneally, Derek O’Brien and Alan Murphy are likely to stay, but it is expected to take several weeks before Connor, who is “talking to several players” has his full squad together. He acknowledged his continued interest in Sligo midfielder Chris Turner who has an escape clause.

“This season will not be easy and resources are tight, but the job is to make sure we stay in the premier division and put some structure in place over the next two to three years to keep the club going forward. It’s a long process.”

But, he said: “I would not sign a three years contract if I did not believe this club would be in the premier division or didn’t have a good future.”


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