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Dundalk man strives to keep Warrenpoint afloat

Mon, Mar 19 2018

File photo of Warrenpoint Town in action against Drogheda United during a 2015 friendly. Credit: Larry McQuillan (ETPhotos)

At twenty-five, one would expect to be coming towards the prime of your playing career. Perhaps having secured a move across the water, have maybe one or two medals under your belt and looking towards that international call-up around the corner. Even if you have not moved abroad, you can at least be settled on having a decent livelihood in the national league.

You don’t expect to be recently appointed as interim manager at one of the Irish league’s top sides. That is however a position that Stephen McDonnell finds himself in. Unsurprisingly, he is the youngest managers in the top flight by quite some margin. The challenge facing him is a daunting one though. With eight games remaining in the season, they were placed in a delicate position being a mere four points above the relegation zone. He was parachuted in the top job to preserve their top flight status.

He is confident of being able to achieve this aim. McDonnell who started his career with Bohemians, sadly had his playing profession cut short at the early age of nineteen due to health concerns. Shortly after, he begun his coaching with the underage side at Bohs and St. Kevin’s Boys, helping in the development of many players who made it afterwards. He recently moved up north and helped them develop their underage squads and as a first team coach. He recently qualified for his UEFA ‘A’ licence in the aim of managing full time.

Warrenpoint chairman stated upon the appointment that “he has his chance to stake a claim for the job on a full-time basis if he can keep the side in the Premiership. Stephen has agreed to step up and take charge of the team until the end of the season. That works for him and it works for us.”

McDonnell himself said “I am delighted to be given the interim manager role and I will do everything in my power to keep Warrenpoint Town in the Premiership.” He conceded that events were not going to be easy but that he was more than up for the challenge. “We have a 4-point cushion, but we are by no means safe. We are in a battle and one that we are up for. I believe that I have a good knowledge of the game and I am going to implement my style of play. This will hopefully get us out of this situation and keep us in the Premiership and give us a platform to build on.”

A massive game away to Ballymeana awaited them this weekend. A win would go a long way securing their status for next year. It would certainly help in his early career.