Derry City's Mark Connolly impressed by Ruaidhrí Higgins’ managerial style

Clones native Mark Connolly can’t praise his manager Ruaidhrí Higgins enough since making the switch to Derry City.

Derry City's Mark Connolly celebrates scoring against Oliver Bond Celtic.
Derry City's Mark Connolly celebrates scoring against Oliver Bond Celtic.

The 30-year-old, who joined the Candystripes from Dundalk last month, believes that the Limavady man has all the attributes to bring success to the Brandywell.

“We have a fantastic group of players, with so much ability and so much striving to win stuff and I’m confident that it will click and it will come at this football club, because the manager has recruited right, as the players have the right mindsets,” he stated.

“The manager has been brilliant with me, as he’s always asking about how I have settled in and stuff like that, so he really has been different class.

“You can see why he’ll go on to be successful, because he understands the game, he understands what the football club needs to win leagues and win cups and doing it consistently, so it has been brilliant so far and I’m looking forward now to getting my family over and getting fully settled in.”

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There’s a new generation in the manager hot-seats with serial winner Stephen Bradley the top dog at Shamrock Rovers, Higgins along with good friend Stephen O’Donnell producing the goods at the Brandywell and Dundalk respectively, while the likes of Tim Clancy at St Patrick’s Athletic, Damien Duff at Shelbourne and Drogheda United’s Kevin Doherty in the dug-out, things are changing in the League of Ireland.

Connolly believes the youthful manager’s can only but continue to improve the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division.

“I can see a lot of similarities with Stevie and the manager,” stated the ex-Oriel Park favourite.

“I know that the two of them are very, very close friends when they played with each other and they kept in touch and they’re still very close friends and what I can say is that two of them are football people.

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“They know football and they know a player and they are a lot younger and they are the new era in the football management side.

“The manager here has honestly been fantastic and in my opinion it’s only the start for him. It’s his first managerial job and so far, he has taken to it like a duck to water from what I have seen.

“He knows players and he knows what he wants to do and that’s the biggest thing I have found with him, he has an identity of what way he wants to play and he wants to stick to his principles. He wants to play good attacking football; you can see what with the type of calibre of players he’s bringing.

“He’s brought a young fresh group together, there’s a lot of young boys there, who he has given a lot of chances to and I’m sure they’ll want to repay him.

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“But that new era of management, which is in the fine state, then our manager is up there with the best in this league and I’m sure he’ll be successful and I’m hoping that in my time here we can be successful together.”

The former Dundee United man knows that the Brandywell men probably should have picked up more points in recent weeks, but he’s confident things will improve.

“If I had been coming here and we were sort of backs against the wall every game and we weren’t creating chances then you would be really concerned and worried, but we’re creating any number of chances and that’s a good thing,” he said.

“It will come and we’ll click and I would imagine once we do click then we might give a team a good hiding. But the biggest thing for me, especially being more experienced and understanding the game that little bit better, we’re creating plenty of chances and we’re playing good football, so I know over experience it will come.

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“At the minute it’s just about a little bit of confidence and once the boys get their goals and take their chances then we’ll push on. But you can see that we’ve got a very talented group.

“Obviously I came from Dundalk, which was also a very, very strong group of boys and they’ve done very, very well but while I knew having played against Derry that they were a good side, but now training with them every day and seeing what they’re like around the dressing room you can see why they’re up there challenging and I’m absolutely delighted to be part of it.

“I know this club will be successful with the players that the manager has brought in and the staff that’s here, we just need it all to click and I’m sure we’re not that far away.”

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