McIlroy new boss
SOCCER LATEST NORTHERN IRELAND last night named Sammy McIlroy as their new national team manager. McIlroy has stepped down as manager of Third Division Macclesfield to take up his new post on a full-time basis with a two-year contract. The Belfast-born 45-year-old, who won 88 caps for his country, succeeds Lawrie McMenemy whose contract expired on November 30.Irish Football Association general secretary David Bowen announced the appointment and revealed: ``The decision of the committee was unanimous once the members had been advised by the president and general secretary of the available options following many weeks of intensive research.''
The IFA were keen to make an appointment as soon as possible to give the new manager time to prepare for Northern Ireland's coming list of friendlies, which starts with Luxembourg away at the end of February.
The fact that Northern Ireland wanted a full-time manager appears to have ruled out the possibility of Leicester's Martin O'Neill combining the job with his Filbert Street role.
McILROY, who will hold a press conference at 2.0pm today at IFA headquarters in Belfast, played 418 games for Manchester United, scoring 57 goals in the process. The highlight of his career at Old Trafford came in 1977 when he played a key role in the Red Devils' victory over Liverpool in the FA Cup final.
He left United in 1982 and joined Stoke for whom he played 144 games before heading back to Manchester, to join City and from there went on to Bury and Preston.
McIlroy played in two successive World Cup finals in Spain in 1982 when he was a member of the team which scored that famous 1-0 win over the hosts in Valencia and four years later in Mexico.
He took his first steps in management with non-League side Northwich Victoria and Ashton United, before being appointed Macclesfield manager prior to the 1993-94 season.
His second season in charge saw the Silkmen win the Vauxhall Conference, but they were denied promotion as their ground had not met the requirements of the Football League.
But two years later, Macclesfield won the Conference title again and this time Moss Rose was deemed fit for the League. McIlroy completed successive promotions by guiding Town into the Second Division at the first attempt, although they were relegated back to the basement division last term.
JOHN O'SHEA'S proposed move on loan from Manchester United to Bournemouth has fallen through but the player believes he will be farmed out before the end of the season.
``I don't think anything is going to happen immediately but I probably will be going away to get experience at some stage this season. ``I was on standby for Brazil but none of the defenders got injured,'' said the Irish youths international.
Irish U-15 international Stephen Bradley has ended months of speculation by opting to sign for Arsenal.
Gunners youth director Liam Brady beat off a clutch of top clubs for the signature of the Lourdes Celtic youngster, who is rated as the most exciting prospect to emerge since Robbie Keane.