Wednesday 17 October 2018

Murray minted with experience

New signing Martin Reilly.
New signing Martin Reilly.

By John MulliganFrom Seaview to Oriel Park in one short week, Martin Murray stepped back into football management just a week after resigning as...

By John Mulligan

From Seaview to Oriel Park in one short week, Martin Murray stepped back into football management just a week after resigning as Manager of Irish League side Crusaders, when he stepped into Oriel Park last Saturday morning.

Immediately recognising many old friends, Murray barely looked a day older than the last occasion he lined out for Dundalk in 1990.

The hair was a little thiner on top, but he looked just as fit as the days when he graced the Dundalk midfield, which clinched the double in 1988.

Following last season’s debacle when the press conference to announce the appointment of a new manager was delayed over a couple of hours, following the eleventh hour 59th minute withdrawal of Paul Doolin, last Saturday’s event ran according to script.

In addition to the gathered journalists and board members, were ordinary supporters of Dundalk Football Club, a sign of the times, at Oriel Park as the interim board ensure to involve the ordinary supporter and their fellow shareholders in the club.

Immediately Murray was welcomed to the Club by Chairman Des Denning, as well as the respective Chairmen of the Travellers Supporters Club and Supporters Club, Tom McNulty Snr. and John Logan.

Murray was welcomed with open arms, even before he announced to those gathered in the Lilywhite Lounge that he hadn’t arrived with one hand as long as the other.

The former Crusaders man, had acted quickly following confirmation of his appointment on Friday night and signed one of his former players, Martin Reilly on a two year deal.

Supporters jaws dropped as they conjoured up images of the former St Patricks Athletic man wearing the Dundalk jersey next season.

“I had spoken to Martin Reilly early in the week and told him that I was in for the Dundalk job and that he wasn’t to do anything without consulting me. Consequently when I was told last night that I had got the job I proceeded to sign him, so Martin Reilly is now a Dundalk player”, Murray announced leading to rapturous applause.

Reilly has a proven goalscoring record from his time with St Patricks Athletic’s championship winning side when he was mainly used as a substitute for the main strikers while he scored 20 and 15 goals in his last two seasons with the Dublin based club.

Murray and Chairman Des Denning have discussed further strengthening of last season’s squad and while no firm committments were given, Des Denning pointed that the new manager was happy to work within the budget provided.

“I know from having spoken to Des, John and Aidan that the Club is firmly focused on where it wants to go and they have said we won’t be leaving any stone unturned to achieve that goal”, added the former Dundalk midfielder.

For Murray who attended Saturday’s press conference despite missing out on the celebrations of his daughter’s first Holy Communion, it was third time lucky having applied for the job of Manager twice previously.

“I was just saying to Elizabeth (Club Secretary) a few minutes ago that this was third time lucky. I’ve gotten two Dear John letters from Elizabeth over the past few years”.

In fact Murray was driving through Dundalk on his way to Belfast to tender his resignation at Crusaders when he heard on local radio of Terry Eviston’s departure.

“When I heard news I considered turning the car around and coming up to the Club to see if there was anyone around”.

Murray admitted that he hadn’t seen much Eircom First Division action in the last couple of seasons but pointed that the League would be competitive.

“Dundalk is a premiership club with aims of going back to the premiership”, he offered, adding that this goal wouldn’t be something he would talk obout often in the coming season.

“I’ve said to Martin Reilly that joining Dundalk while one step down at the moment, is taking two steps up in the longer term”,

Murray hopes to confirm his choice as assistant in the coming week, speaking on Saturday that he will discuss the matter with last season’s number two, Ollie Ralph, who was disappointed at not getting the number one job himself.

“I’d like to play a lot of games in pre-sesaon and hit the ground running”, added Murray, who pointed that he was well aware of the tradition of producing quality local players.

“The squad will train together here on Tuesday nights and in Dublin on Thursdays”, added Murray.