Northern Irish football received something of a shock when manager Marty Quinn decided to quit Coleraine FC to take over at promotion hopefuls Bangor FC.
Barring a successful appeal by Donegal Celtic FC, who were excluded from the new 12-team league, Bangor will take their place in the reformulated top division next season, and they have pulled off a major coup in signing their new coach. Quinn surprisingly resigned at Coleraine after leading them to the Northern Irish Cup final, which they lost as Linfield FC completed a hat-trick of doubles.
'Quinner' admitted the task at Bangor would be a far cry from the expectations at Coleraine, where he had been in charge for eight-and-a-half seasons. "I felt it was the right time to move on and that the time was right for a new challenge," he said. "Basically my job is to keep Bangor in the Premier League next season and I want to bring in players with the right attitude, who will battle to stay up." Coleraine are accepting applications from potential successors to Quinn until the end of this month, with their chairman Hugh Wade welcoming a "very encouraging response".
While Coleraine have lost a boss with title-winning experience, Quinn having led Cliftonville FC to that glory a decade ago, their arch-rivals Ballymena United FC have appointed a man of similar stature. The Braidmen's new manager is Roy Walker, who was in charge of Crusaders FC when they won the league in both 1995 and 1997. Walker succeeds Tommy Wright, who stepped down at the end of last season and has just taken up a post as goalkeeping coach with one of his former clubs in England, Norwich City FC.
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