Feeney announces departure at end of season

Sligo Rovers can confirm that manager Steve Feeney will step down from his position at the end of the season due to work and family reasons.

Feeney became manager two years ago following the formation of the Bit O’ Red’s team in the Women’s Premier Division.

He quickly assembled a squad of players and recorded a memorable first season, accumulating 20 points and a stunning 3-2 win over the present champions Shelbourne in The Showgrounds.

This season Feeney’s side reached an FAI Cup semi-final with Athlone Town as over 1,100 fans attended a historic occasion in The Showgrounds.  

Having laid his name in the history of the club by being the first-ever manager of a Sligo Rovers women’s side in the league, he informed the club of his decision to let 2023 be his last season earlier in the year.

He said: “I spoke to the club a few months back to let them know that I would be stepping down. The role is very demanding and with a young family and a work life I had to acknowledge it would have a certain period that I could commit.

“At the time we came to an agreement to continue for the rest of the season. I wanted to give the club time to find a successor most importantly so that there would be a smooth transition.

“I’m very proud that I managed Sligo Rovers firstly. As a former player and Sligo person I know what it means and that I can say I was a player and manager of the club is very special.

“Secondly I’m very proud of the group of players. The first two years just showed how much the region needed this team. There is a very exciting future ahead for women’s football with the club.

“The players have been brilliant. There is a lot of young players and while you want to develop them as players most importantly, it was also great to see them mature as people as well and gain self-belief and realise they are good enough to compete at this level. They will go on to become better and better.”

Speaking about the influence the team has had so far, he said:

“I’ve got three young girls at home who are always asking me about the team so I know first hand the impact the players and Sligo Rovers women have had.

“We have had some tough lessons this season, at times where we let ourselves down, and it will be a learning season. The FAI Cup run was fantastic and it was a very special occasion in the semi-final. I feel the players can go on to create more big days like that.

“I want to thank my backroom team. They have given up so much of their time and brought a level of expertise that we needed. They’ve gone above and beyond at times and it was greatly appreciated.

“I also want to thank the club as well. They’ve been hugely supportive since day one.”

Sligo Rovers chairman Tommy Higgins said: “When we made the decision to join the Women’s Premier Division, we needed a manager who was not only going to lead a team but also going to lay down a marker for the future of our female division.

“Steve has done a magnificent job. He showed enormous commitment and hard work to not only build the team but also bring so many great players to the club and develop them. Together they achieved some tremendous results over the last two years.

“We owe him a debt of gratitude for creating a high-level environment that is in place for his successor and all of the players both now and in the future.

“On behalf of Sligo Rovers I want to thank him for his great contribution to the club and women’s football in the region.” 

Reflecting on his time as manager Steve Feeney concluded “I’ve loved it. Working with a good group of players and management team was hugely enjoyable. The workload was significant but we all shared it as well.

“I will take a break but I certainly hope to return to management in the future when the time is right.”

Sligo Rovers will appoint a new manager shortly.