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Former Republic of Ireland star Kinsella out to make his Mark


Mark Kinsella

Mark Kinsella

Mark Kinsella

HIS former team-mate and midfield side-kick with Ireland, Roy Keane, lasted only a few months in his most recent post as assistant boss of a club side, a very tumultuous period.

But Mark Kinsella, the latest ex-Ireland man to find work in the domestic league here, says that he plans to stay in his job for the duration, and also intends to stay away from headline-making, as he settles into his new role as assistant boss with Drogheda United.

Kinsella, now 42, has achieved a lot in the game since he left his Finglas home as a teenager, appearing at the World Cup finals and playing in the English Premier League and at Wembley.

Ireland has changed a lot in the 25 years since Kinsella headed for Britain and while he's surprised to find himself back here at this stage of his career, the 48-times-capped player says he's happy to be back home.

And he is literally back home, his accommodation for the moment the family home on Dublin's northside

"It's strange to be back in your old bedroom at the age of 42 but it's fine," says Kinsella, who was unveiled over the weekend as Drogheda's No. 2, assisting new boss John McDonnell.

But Kinsella maintains that a spell in the LOI as an assistant is no comedown. "I know what I am getting into, I have no illusions. I am not just here for a short spell as a stepping stone to get back to England," he says.

"I know that some people have come into the league in Ireland and left after a very short time when a job in England became available again but that won't be happening with me anyway. I'm an Irishman, I am happy to be back home, I know all about the League of Ireland and I want to do well with Drogheda," added the former international, whose son, Liam, has broken into the first team at League One side Walsall this season.

And despite his profile, from those caps and Premier League appearances, he's keen to stay out of the limelight which engulfed Keane at times. "I won't be making the back pages and I won't be doing too many interviews, my job is to help John McDonnell in his job as manager," he told The Herald.

"After I left the last job I had, Colchester United, I made the decision to come home to Ireland see if I could get some work over here. And then the chance came to go in to Drogheda as John's assistant. I had watched a bit of League of Ireland at the tail end of last season, so I had an idea of the standard."

Kinsella says he wasn't close to McDonnell before landing the role but he had done his homework and feels that the two Dubs can work together at the Co Louth club.

"I didn't know John personally but I knew about him, he'd worked with Brian Kerr at international level with the Faroes and I played under Brian with Ireland. I know that John had been a success in terms of bringing young players through at Shelbourne, so this is a challenge for us both.

"And I knew a bit about the league here, I had spoken to Gareth Farrelly about his time in Ireland, with Bohemians, so I know about the ups and the downs."

Kinsella, 42, has been in England permanently since he joined Colchester United from Home Farm as a schoolboy.

wound down

When his playing career - with Colchester, Charlton, Aston Villa, West Brom and Walsall - wound down he moved into coaching, though the Dubliner did have a brief spell as player/coach while at Walsall. He had a season as manager of non-league outfit Daventry Town and spent two years as assistant boss with his fellow Dubliner Joe Dunne at Colchester United, though the duo were axed after a poor start to the current season.

He had been touted for the manager's job at Drogheda but he insists that he's happier in a No. 2 role. "I did the job as manager for a year, with Daventry, and I enjoyed the experience," he added.

"But I have always been a coach, myself and Joe Dunne had a good two years at Colchester and I was happy as an assistant. I did have a chat with Drogheda about the manager's job but being a No. 2 suited me."

With the new season four months away, time is on their side but Kinsella is keen to get straight to work. "We will be watching videos, looking at players, planning for pre-season. It's a challenge but it's one I am really looking forward to. I have been away from home for 20-odd years but now it's time to go home, maybe start again and see how this goes."