Belfast Telegraph

Institute appoint Sean Connor as new first team manager

New Institute manager Sean Connor
New Institute manager Sean Connor

Institute have announced the appointment of former Lisburn Distillery, Ards and Cliftonville player Sean Connor as their new first team manager.

The 52-year-old takes over the reins at the Brandywell after the resignation of John Quigg shortly began, inheriting a team currently second from bottom in the Danske Bank Premiership with just one point from four games.

Connor started his career at Distillery in 1987, before having brief spells at Port Vale and Macclesfield Town. The Belfast man would return to Northern Ireland with Ards after two years away, only to suffer several injuries in a car accident shortly after joining the team.

Although he tried to make a comeback with Cliftonville, the injuries proved to be career-ending and he retired in 1991.

Following his retirement, Connor spent several years as the press officer at Birmingham City, before then embarking on his coaching career in the United States with spells at the Cincinnati Riverhawks, the Boston Bulldogs and the Lafayette SwampCats.

A return to Britain saw him help coach at Stoke City and Lincoln City, both then non-league clubs, before he finally got his first manager's role in 2004 at Sligo Rovers, whom he would lead to the First Division title in his first of two years in charge, before taking them to fifth in their first season in the Premier Division as well as the semi-finals of the FAI Cup.

After resigning at Sligo, Connor had stints with Bohemians, Dundalk and Galway United, while he then had brief managerial roles with Zimbabwean side CAPS United and South African second division outfit the Black Leopards.

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Now, having helped out at the Maiden City Soccer Academy for the last few years, Connor is back in a senior managerial role with Institute, who will hope he can guide them to top flight safety this season.

"I am delighted with the opportunity to progress the team on the field as it looks to be progressing off it," commented Connor on his appointment.

"Having spent the last number of years in the academic field, my desire, ambition and determination and to get back to the coal face of management has been reinvigorated."

It is believed that Sean Friars and Paul McLaughlin, who took temporary charge after Quigg's resignation, will stay on at the club as Connor's assistants.

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