Could we see this manager back in the Irish League soon?

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Sean Connor’s name has been linked with numerous recent managerial vacancies and the former Institute boss is ready to take on a new challenge.

In the Danske Bank Premiership, Cliftonville are on the hunt for a new boss following Paddy McLaughlin’s departure to Derry City and Darren Mullen announced earlier this week that he would be leaving Newry City after 10 years in charge.

Connor, who was the first manager in the League of Ireland to gain the coveted UEFA Pro Licence in 2007, has vast experience and certainly fills the criteria the Reds are seeking as they look to appoint a full-time manager on their path towards a new hybrid model which “will balance the needs of full-time footballers alongside those players who pursue other careers along with football”.

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The 55-year-old has experience of handling the transition from part-time football into a more professional era, going through the process with Sligo Rovers and also did the same with Dundalk while helping them secure European football.

Sean ConnorSean Connor
Sean Connor

He previously helped Bohemians reach Europe with UEFA Intertoto Cup qualification in 2007 – the same year they navigated their way to the semi-finals of the FAI Cup.

"I'm constantly reading, learning, going to coaching courses and am always looking to improve,” said the man who discovered Seamus Coleman. “I have been coaching since 2004 but feel I'm really up to date with everything that's modern in the game.

"My strengths are understanding good players and getting them playing in their best positions. That's something I've had from the start and something I still maintain.

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"My time at Institute made me realise that you're only as good as the people around you. I've been looking for a project that gives me the opportunity to work with really good players."

Connor, who also managed in Africa between 2012-2014, knows the local game extremely well and is ready to take on the full-time forces with a renewed vigour if handed the opportunity.

"Cliftonville is a magnificent project and there aren't many opportunities that come up when the team is so established with really good players, a great fanbase and a great history so that's a very enticing job,” he added. “The job Darren has done at Newry is fantastic.

"I judge any manager by where was the club when they came in and where are they when they left. It doesn't necessarily have to be a better league position but did you leave better players and better structures.

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"Sometimes you don't get the time to complete the job you want to do and I like to think most of my jobs I have left the club in a better position.

"It isn’t just about financial clout. It’s about creating an environment with belief and confidence that can compete.

"Going back to university was a big learning point for me too. I've been visiting other coaching environments and recently was with a GAA coach and went to his sessions at county level to see what they are doing. I'm learning all the time.

"I'm from Belfast and it's (Cliftonville) a club I've known well since I was a kid. For me there are plenty of good clubs out there but you want a club that has history. You want a club that has a passionate and loyal fan base and Cliftonville have that.”