Cliftonville confirm Declan O'Hara to take on interim manager role following Paddy McLaughlin's departure
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McLaughlin left Solitude after four years in charge, guiding the Reds to Country Antrim Shield success in 2019/20 and added the BetMcLean Cup to his trophy haul last season with victory over Coleraine.
He has been heavily linked with a return to Derry City as number two to current boss Ruaidhrí Higgins and O’Hara will now step up from his role as McLaughlin’s assistant manager to lead Cliftonville in their pursuit for European football.
His first assignment will be a North Belfast Derby at home against Crusaders on Saturday, where O’Hara will hope to put an end to their winless run of three matches.
"Cliftonville Football Club can confirm that Declan O’Hara has been appointed Interim Manager,” the club said in a statement.
“Declan has already taken over the responsibilities with the first training session held yesterday (Tuesday) following the departure of Paddy McLaughlin. All at Solitude will give Declan our full support in his new role.
“The club are now undertaking the process of appointing a permanent, full-time manager.
“Cliftonville FC had already commenced the move towards a new model with our ambition to put a hybrid system in place which will balance the needs of full-time footballers alongside those players who pursue other careers along with football.
"It is our intention that the new manager will be central to that process along with taking a strategic overview of all football at the club.
“While this process continues, we know that supporters will give Declan and the team their full backing.”
Former defender O’Hara played for Cliftonville and returned to the club as a coach following his retirement, initially working with the Academy and Olympic sides before progressing to the senior set-up under McLaughlin, who arrived in February 2019.
He served as a first team coach before being installed as assistant manager in 2021.
Rumours have circled since McLaughlin’s departure about his potential successor with Diarmuid O'Carroll – a former Reds player and current St Mirren assistant manager – heavily linked.