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McGuinness salutes Rovers' decision to shop local

PFAI chief executive Stephen McGuinness says that Trevor Croly’s appointment at Shamrock Rovers will be a huge boost to Ireland’s aspiring managers.

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

SHAMROCK ROVERS’ DECISION to shop local and appoint Trevor Croly proves that domestic talent can still compete for the Airtricity League’s top jobs, PFAI chief executive Stephen McGuinness says.

Croly completed his Rovers return earlier today after he agreed a two-year contract to permanently succeed Stephen Kenny as manager in Tallaght.

The move will be a huge boost to Ireland’s coaching scene, McGuinness says, but it will also be better for Rovers than bringing in a manager who is likely to use the club as stepping stone to boost their own profile.

For the last three seasons, the top flight title has been won under managers brought in from further afield than Croly. Before his departure to work under Liam Buckley at St Pat’s last season, the Dubliner was Rovers’ assistant as Michael O’Neill masterminded back-to-back title successes in 2010 and 2011 before moving into international management with Northern Ireland.

Last season it was the turn of Ian Baraclough, a man who came to the league with little managerial experience but ended Sligo Rovers’ long wait for a domestic title in his first season in charge.

“From a union point of view, we’re delighted,” McGuinness tells TheScore.ie. “It encourages young players that are doing their coaching badges now that you can aspire to be at the top club.

“There was a worry within our own ranks that if I do my coaching badge here, I’m going to be overlooked for the big job.

I think today is great for everybody involved in the game because it shows that by hard work and determination and commitment that you can get the top jobs in our country.

It’s something that I think will inspire the guys that are doing their badges now — the likes of Dominic Foley, Eamon Zayed and Glenn Cronin who were doing their youth licenses last week in Peamount. It makes you think that there is a career path in Ireland.

Rovers will reap the benefit of the appointment too, McGuinness added, as Croly is unlikely to cut and run as O’Neill did to Northern Ireland or former Sligo boss Paul Cook did when Accrington Stanley came calling.

“They do bring a certain amount of experience to the league, but unfortunately in my opinion, they come in to take jobs to use as leverage to go elsewhere.

“I’d like to think that people like Pat Fenlon and Trevor are here to for the long term, that they’re not using it as a stepping stone. If something else comes along the line, well and good, but I don’t think they’ll use it in that way.

I always find when you speak to the other managers that they use it as a springboard to go. They very rarely stay around for too long.

After listening to Croly outline his plans for Rovers’ future, McGuinness added: ”Some of the stuff that Trevor spoke about, you won’t hear that all the time — people talking about how they’re going to develop the U19s, going to develop the underage structures at the club.

“I think a lot of managers, especially the ones who come in from England, only really care about the first team because that’s the profile that will ultimately get them the move. Nobody really looks at what they’ve done at youth level because they won’t be here for long enough.”

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Niall Kelly

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