Conor O’Grady appointed as Head of Academy of Sligo Rovers

Conor O’Grady has been appointed as the new Head of Academy on a full-time employment basis, Sligo Rovers can announce today.

O’Grady, a former captain and decorated player at the club, has been managing the club’s Under-15 team since inception.

He has emerged as the successful candidate following a lengthy interview process for the role which saw over 50 applicants for the position after it was advertised in November.

Interviews took place in he last month as two boards assessed an extremely high level of applicants, with Conor emerging with the role.

The position will initially include player identification and development, coach identification and liasion, development and education, continuing to develop the pathway from our academy to the first-team and liasing with IT Sligo on our scholarship scheme.

The Bit O’ Red will unveil a more detailed assessment of the planned growth of the Sligo Rovers academy in the club’s Masterplan early in 2021.

In recent seasons the work of a number of our club’s coaches, local clubs in the region and investment from Sligo Rovers has resulted in the development of a large number of first-team players.

This season nine academy graduates were part of the first-team squad of the Sligo Rovers men’s team. Two of those, Niall Morahan and Ed McGinty,  won the Senior and Young Player of the Year.

Today’s appointment is significant in that the club is investing in a full-time position of employment for the first time.

Conor will start the role in January 2021.

Sligo Rovers CEO Colin Feehily said: “We are very pleased to welcome Conor to the club in the position of Head of Academy.

“The work at academy level by our coaches and volunteers has been exemplary and the potential for growth has been obvious.

“This is a very positive step for the club. Conor left a lasting impression on everyone in securing the role through the vision he shares and holds.

“There are exciting times ahead for the academy and Conor will be the ideal leader for it.”

Sligo Rovers first-team manager Liam Buckley said: “I’d like to congratulate Conor on his appointment to this role. 

“The academy is a vital part of the football club here and we have a fantastic group of coaches working with some very talented players.

“We’ve already seen the fruits of that at first-team level and I’m very much aware that there is more to come in the short and long-term future. 

“I look forward to working with Conor going forward.” 

Sligo Rovers Head of Academy Conor O’Grady said: “It is a massive honour. I’m very proud and I feel very humbled today.

“I’m just delighted the club have put their faith in me. There were a lot of brilliant candidates so I feel honoured. It was an unbelievably thorough process.

“I’m very excited now. It’s a huge role. We have a serious amount of talent here in the youth teams and at the moment it is just talent. We’ve already had many players come through to the first-team and currently we have plenty of players with that potential.

“I strongly believe we will have more players coming through. We have to deliver on it and the players have to have the will and desire most importantly. I think they do have it at the moment.

“When I joined Sligo Rovers it was an institution. It always will be. Today it is a brand as much as an institution because it so big all over the north-west.

“It’s a big and bold move by the club to make this role but it’s a positive one and the right one I feel. I have a plan and vision for the future of youth football in the region. The big thing for me is we make it a united front at every level at the club. The plan will come when I start and it will be small steps at first and big steps over time.

“What matters most is the coaches of the players. I’ve spoken to all of them today before the announcement about how much I want them to be involved. They are the most important people and always will be the most important people. They have already proven how good they are in recent years.

“I’ll be a sounding board for them, I’ll be there to help them, they are there to help me and the way I look at it is we’re all doing this together. I hope they’ll enjoy it and I hope that every young player who becomes part of this club enjoys it as well.”