New boss Conan ready to power Rathfriland Rangers up the table

Rathfriland FC Chairman Howard Murray welcomes new Manager Connan Power  �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1505-235EB
Rathfriland FC Chairman Howard Murray welcomes new Manager Connan Power �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1505-235EB

New Rathfriland Rangers manager Conan Power says the rest of this season will be a learning curve for him and his new side.

Power’s stint in charge got off to a rocky start as his side were dumped 5-1 by local rivals Dromara Villag in the Clarence Cup on Saturday.

Dromara Village FC v Rathfriland :Jonny Kernaghan �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1505-240PB

Dromara Village FC v Rathfriland :Jonny Kernaghan �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1505-240PB

And he says it will take him and his squad to the end of the season to get used to the new set-up after ex-boss John Kernaghan’s departure.

“I said I’d give this a go but it’s all new to me,” he said, having agreed to take on the job at a meeting last Monday evening.

“It’ll take me to the end of the season to see what the standard of football is and what standard our team is at.

“These next few months with be a learning curve for everyone. I’ll have to get to know the players and they have to get to know me. Then we’ll take things from there.

Dromara v Rathfriland �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1505-246PB

Dromara v Rathfriland �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1505-246PB

“If things work out, I want to be here for a few years at least but we need to just look at things for the rest of this season and assess everything then. I need to see if I’m good enough for this.

“Our first aim is to stay in the league and after that, my idea is always to get as high as you possibly can, if not win it. The job is a challenge and I want a challenge.”

The Waterford man has been playing for the club for the past few years after moving north.

It’s not his first foray into coaching, having led the club’s third string to league glory in 2013.

“I managed the thirds for a couple of seasons and we won the league in the first season and we did pretty well the year after too,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it was a strain on club having so many teams so that was that.

“Before I moved up here, I also managed a team called Tramore in Waterford.”

Power had a promising playing career with League of ireland sides Athlone Town and Waterford United but ended his time playing at that level due to work and family commitments.

The 44 year-old is Rathfriland’s fourth boss in 18 months and he wants to bring an end to that period of instability.

“There has been too much chopping and changing over the last while,” he said. “We thought it would be better to keep it in house now so I said I’d do it.

“They asked me two years ago to take on the firsts but I wanted them to get to know me and for me to get to know them first.

“I’ve been playing at the club for three or four seasons but I’ll stop playing now. I love playing the game but it would be too much so I’ll just concentrate on managing.

“I’ll be very hands on as a manager. I’ll be training the players and I’ll be in the thick of it all.

“I’ll give 100% for the players and I’ll be expecting the same from them. Then if things don’t work out, at least we did everything we could.”

After accepting the job, the 44 year-old was quick to ensure former manager John Kernaghan’s departure didn’t mean a swift exit for his son and the club’s star midfielder Johnny Kernaghan.

“I’m very happy that Johnny is staying,” said Power. “I had a good chat with him and our views are the same so he said he’d be happy to stay on, which is absolutely fantastic.”

Power is now preparing to lead his side out at their Iveagh Park home for the first time against Downpatrick on Saturday (kick-off 2pm).