Drogs’ duo determined to make a big push for promotion
THE Drogheda United management team’s ‘emotional connection’ with the club was a key factor in Tim Clancy turning down the opportunity to manage First Division rivals Shelbourne.
Clancy had been tipped to succeed Owen Heary at Tolka Park, where there would be a bigger budget to work with, and more than likely he would have taken Kevin Doherty with him given that his assistant had both played for and managed Shels previously.
However, they will both now stay with the Drogs for another season and make another attempt to get them back up to the top flight, having steered them to the play-offs this year.
Clancy was busy talking to players about new contracts yesterday (Monday) and was unavailable for comment, but Doherty revealed why they weren’t tempted by a move down the M1.
‘There was definitely a proper offer on the table [from Shelbourne], but we decided to stay and hopefully it will prove to be be the right decision,’ the assistant boss commented.
‘We speak 10 times every day and there were a lot of conversations going on about the possibilities, but once the stuff was on the table and we spoke about what we wanted to do, we decided our heart is in Drogheda and that’s where we see ourselves.
‘It’s hard to say too much, but it was hard to walk away and we’re happy here at Drogheda and really want to stay.
‘We are both ambitious and Tim wants to manage at the top level, and I think he will, and I think there’s been a lot of investment at Shelbourne, but sometimes something just feels good and your ambitions and your happiness have to be taken together.
‘At the moment we want to be ambitious with Drogheda. Out of loyalty to the club and players, we do feel a bit of an emotional connection even though we’ve only been there a year.
There was definitely a proper offer on the table [from Shelbourne], but we decided to stay and hopefully it will prove to be be the right decision
‘We enjoyed working with the club and the players this year, we had a really good season and we want to do the same again or better next season.
‘We think we can build on this year, definitely.’
In terms of putting together a squad for 2019, Doherty feels that there would be minimal changes, given that the Drogs finished fourth and beat Shelbourne in the play-offs before losing to Finn Harps who subsequently gained promotion with a 3-0 aggregate victory over Limerick.
‘There’s a lot of discussions going on at the moment, although we can’t actually sign players until December,’ he pointed out.
‘There will be a few changes and we will be looking to bring in a couple of players, but part of the reason we’re staying is that we’re happy with the players we are already working with and don’t want a massive turnover.
‘We were not a million miles away this year and it would not make sense to rip it up and start again, but hopefully we can get a stronger squad together and make up the ground.’
A dejected Tim Clancy following Drogheda’s defeat in Ballybofey.
Drogheda Town captain, Leon Lusha holds the U-12 cup aloft following his side’s win over Rathkenny. Picture: Jimmy Weldon