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Shelbourne appoint 26-year-old as new chief executive as Dublin club eye return to big time

 

O’Connor retired from football last year after finishing up with Limerick. Photo: Frank McGrath
O’Connor retired from football last year after finishing up with Limerick. Photo: Frank McGrath
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Shelbourne have appointed 26-year-old ex-Shamrock Rovers, Limerick and UCD defender Dave O'Connor as their new CEO.

The Meathman has been hired as part of significant boardroom changes at Tolka Park, with former Rovers director Andrew Doyle bringing new investment to the First Division club.

O'Connor decided to take a break from professional football last year after finishing up with Limerick and spoke of plans to find his way in the working world.

He will now pursue a career as a full-time administrator after impressing the Shelbourne hierarchy in discussions about the newly-created position.

The UCD graduate officially started work yesterday and formal announcement of his arrival is expected today.

It's believed Doyle and his associates are keen to freshen things up at Shels following a difficult decade since their demotion from the Premier Division in 2007 and the death of Ollie Byrne.

Investing in youth is a major part of the club's long-term plan and a new partnership with DCU will be central to that strategy.

They have worked out a scholarship arrangement which will allow male and female players to study for university degrees while playing for the respective sides in their national leagues.

Shelbourne will be moving out of Tolka Park to join Bohemians in the renovated Dalymount Park when that project is completed.

A section of fans opposed the switch, but Shels will be pressing ahead with that plan.

Last year, the board of the Drumcondra outfit said they were seeking new investors after finally clearing up the mess left by Byrne's lively tenure.

Liabilities were in excess of €4.4m with several creditors walking away realising they wouldn't get their money back.

Long-serving directors dipped into their own pocket to keep the club afloat, and concluded that debt-free status was required to attract new backers.

Doyle - who has a background in the legal field and was a managing partner of law firm Maples and Calder - stepped forward.

In addition to the arrival of O'Connor, former Ireland women's international Seana Cooke - an ex-Arsenal player who is now with Shels - has joined the board. She is a marketing and business development executive.

Irish Independent

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