Belfast Telegraph

Watch: I've got to give Warrenpoint a reason to keep me, says 25-year-old boss Stephen McDonnell

By Gareth Hanna

It took a bit of getting used to when Irish League players were younger than me. I imagined I'd have another few years before I was talking to managers who made me feel a little over the hill. Step up Stephen McDonnell.

The Dundalk man has, of course, been appointed Warrenpoint Town boss until the end of the season at just 25-years-old.

One game into his fledgling managerial career and he has already taken the 'surreal' scalp of seeing off a David Jeffrey side, McDonnell's Town team beating Ballymena 3-1 in his first game in charge.

Tonight he'll pit his wits against another top Irish League boss when Crusaders come to the south eastern tip of Northern Ireland for a Premiership game broadcast live on Sky Sports (kick-off 7.45pm).

If McDonnell can also see off Crues boss Stephen Baxter, his chances of staying at Town beyond the summer will go up again - massively.

And that's exactly what he's after; the job on a more long-term basis.

"Please God," he said. "That's why we all go into the game. I want to manage. I've taken the job on a short-term basis. I want it permanently but I've got to get results and give them a reason to give me the job."

If his team play as well as they did at Ballymena, when a front three of Lorcan Forde, Sean Mackle and Alan O'Sullivan tortured the United defence with what their manager calls 'sexy football', Point can cause Crusaders a few issues this evening.

"Credit to the lads." said McDonnell. "They've really bought in to what we've done. We've completely changed the formation and the style of our play and they've really grasped it. We've got our ideas across and we're delighted.

"We've got good players in every part of the pitch. They've got their roles and they know what we're looking. We've got a lot of quality, there was never any doubting that. It's how we structured it.

"Yes we can play the sexy football but you've got to have discipline and balance behind that."

McDonnell's progress will certainly be interesting, as old as it does make a certain reporter feel. Next the chairmen will be looking younger, but Connaire McGreevy still has a few years on me yet.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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