Mark Connolly wants to 'make history' with Derry City

MARK CONNOLLY says he wants to make history with Derry City and help bridge the 25 years gap since the Brandywell club's last league triumph.

By Simon Collins
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 7:29 pm

The 30 year-old centre half joined the Candy Stripes from Dundee United on a two-and-a-half year deal as Derry pipped league rivals Dundalk to his signature.

Connolly, who starred for the Lilywhites during his six month loan spell which ended last week, explained how he was taken back by Derry boss Ruaidhri Higgins' willingness to bring him to Foyleside.

Higgins and his assistant manager, Alan Reynolds travelled to Edinburgh on Monday to meet with Connolly and his wife Rosa and it was that gesture, coupled with the club's ambitious plans for the future, which ultimately sealed the deal.

Derry City's new signing Mark Connolly pictured at Brandywell. Photo by George Sweeney.

"I've been in England and Scotland my whole career and probably could've stayed over there," said Connolly, "but I wanted to come back home closer to my family. How Derry City treated us, in terms of flying over, they didn't need to do that. They showed a keenness and willingness to sign me which shows how much they wanted me. I'm delighted to be here and can't wait to get started.

"When I spoke to Ruaidhri and he told me about his ambitions for the club and when himself and Alan flew over to meet myself and my wife, I haven't had that in my career with managers. I've had a lot of managers speak over the phone but not fly over and also to speak to my wife.

"I was more worried about that than anything else," he laughed. "Rosa obviously had questions about where we would be living and stuff like that. That was top of our list, what was happening with our two young kids. When Rosa felt comfortable I was comfortable. That as well as the ambitions and the way the club wanted to move forward, it was something straight away I wanted to be part of."

With no shortage of suitors and clubs interested in his signature, the former Wolves player said the talent in the Derry dressing room and the potential of the club was the biggest selling point for him.

"I've been in professional football a long time. This is a very talented group and I think everyone in the League of Ireland is aware of the talent in Derry. I want to come here and win leagues. I want to win cups, I want to make history and I want to play in Europe. I want to win stuff," he insisted. "This club is going in the right direction. It might take time but I'm sure this club will be successful."