By Paul Holland
Drogheda United assistant manager Kevin Doherty is thoroughly enjoying his first season at the club alongside manager Tim Clancy. The ex- Shelbourne manager is very happy in his role and talks about the remaining five games in the league and this week’s exciting news that Drogheda will finally be moving to a brand new 3000 seater stadium.
With five games remaining, how do you view the team’s progress ahead of the play-offs and the battle for promotion?
“At the start of the season many people didn’t give us much of a chance. It’s been a great season for us so far. If we were to be told at the start of the year, that we would be in the top two for most of the season, we would have bitten your hand off! Our main focus after being relegated last year, has been to build for the future. We won’t be making big changes for the last part of the season. We will keep doing what we have been doing all along.”
After 22 games played and five games left to play, UCD are top of the First Division table, seven points ahead of ourselves and Finn Harps on 41 points. Shelbourne are two points behind on 39 with Galway and Longford both on 35 points!
“Yes it really is very tight for the last few games. UCD have a very settled side for the last few years. We have been in the top four all season and have beaten every team in the league, but obviously it’s the last few games that count now! A win could make a huge difference and of course a defeat or two could see a team lose out for the play-offs altogether. Really any one of the top six teams are in contention with 15 points to play for. We are just taking each game as it comes and keeping our focus as best we can.”
Were you disappointed with last week’s 0-0 draw against Wexford?
“Yes but they have improved a lot through the season. We had chances to win the game but on the positive side it was a good point away from home.”
Some clubs such as Shelbourne seem to be going all out to get promoted with an investor previously with Shamrock Rovers now on board.
“Yes I was joking with him recently that I could have done with his investment two years ago when I was manager of Shelbourne there! They have recently signed quality players such as Karl Moore, Greg Moorehouse (ex- Sligo) and Paddy Kavanagh.”
It’s very hard to compete for the signatures of players when other clubs have a much bigger budget than we have!
“Yes we had approached four players recently but none materialised as the money being offered by other clubs was much better than what we could offer. You can’t fault players for signing for better money elsewhere. That said, we are very happy with the small squad of players we have.”
This week we had the announcement from the FAI that we will finally be moving to a brand new stadium! It was well timed to distract people from the huge negative publicity surrounding Bray Wanderers and Limerick !
“Yes it’s given everybody at the club a great boost and is long overdue! Hopefully more sponsorship and bigger crowds will have the club challenging for honours in the top division again.”
You had a challenge game in Abbotstown this week
“Yes we played the home based players from the Ireland U-19s and gave a lot of our younger players the chance to impress. It finished 3-3.”
You seem really happy in your role as assistant manager here or would you prefer to be a manager again like you were at Shelbourne?
“Yes I get on really well with Tim but hadn’t known him at all when I got the call to join him! I am very happy with my role for now but maybe in the future I might consider being a manager again! I’m still only 38!”