Derry City Women have fired out a major statement of intent by appointing former league-winning coach Ryan McConville as their new manager.
After finishing rock bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership in each of the last two seasons, the club have taken a major step in bringing in the vastly experienced McConville as the successor to Kevin McLaughlin, who shocked Derry by quitting just days before the season kicked off last month.
McConville has a track record of success.
He led Linfield Ladies to their first Premiership title back in 2016 and he will take charge for the first time tonight when Derry host his old club at the Brandywell.
“We are delighted to confirm Ryan McConville as our head coach. He is a highly motivated coach and his experience and knowledge of the game speaks for itself,” said a club statement.
“We look forward to building a solid relationship with Ryan and his staff over the coming months as we aim to progress the women’s game further within our club and city.”
McConville brings a wealth of experience to the job having coached in China, Russia, South Africa, USA and Mexico and he is steeped in the women’s game, having also coached Forfar Farmington in Scotland before a spell at Sion Swifts Ladies last season.
The appointment is initially until the end of this season and McConville takes over a team that has won only three league matches in the last three seasons. Indeed, they failed to even register a point during the shortened 2020 campaign.
So far this season, Derry have yet to record a victory in four games.
After a 1-1 draw with Sion Swifts last week, Linfield will welcome back a quartet of players after Louise McFrederick, Megan Weatherall, Rachel McConnell and Rebecca Bassett were on international futsal duty with Northern Ireland.
Also back from that squad is Crusaders Strikers’ Jessica Rea, but they are again expected to be without Northern Ireland international Julie Nelson for their home clash with Lisburn Ladies.
The Strikers captain has missed the last couple of games through injury.
Cliftonville Ladies top the table on goal difference, with both them and Glentoran having 100% records after four games — both have also scored 19 times so far.
Mid Ulster Ladies are next in the firing line for the Reds and they will be buoyed by collecting their first point in a 1-1 draw with Derry City.
Glentoran’s winning streak will be put on the line when they face third-placed Sion Swifts Ladies.
FIXTURES (7.45pm unless stated): Cliftonville Ladies v Mid Ulster Ladies, Crusaders Strikers v Lisburn Ladies (8pm), Derry City Women v Linfield Ladies, Sion Swifts Ladies v Glentoran Women