New Rangers manager Ally has Irish League in his sights

New Rangers manager Ally has Irish League in his sights

Ally Wilson is keen to keep Rathfriland Rangers on the rise as he takes up the position of manager.

Matthew Dawson


Matthew Dawson


NEW Rathfriland Rangers manager Ally Wilson says he wants to keep driving the club forward - and he says reaching the Irish League for the first time in the club's history would be a "natural progression".

The club has been enjoying a very successful spell in the past number of years and that, coupled with a tremendous development of the club off the pitch, means Ally is very optimistic for what the future holds for the men from Iveagh Park.

Speaking to The Outlook, Ally praised the ambition and vision of those in positions of power at the club.

He said: "The big thing for me was the ambition the club had moving forward.

"Off the field the club is flying and the facilities are brilliant, the club wants to be moving forward and everything off the field is in place so over the next couple of years on the pitch we need to be successful."

And how does Ally define success now for the Rangers?

"You can beat about the bush, but from her on in we need to challenging for trophies.

"You can't say you are going to be winning trophies but you have to be open and honest and say we are going to have to challenge.

"I think it's coming to the stage where if we get it right on the pitch, [the Irish League] is a natural progression, I think so.

"There are people above me making them decisions but my view on the football front is we need to keep moving forward."

He joins the club off the back of a very successful stint with Banbridge Rangers, spending two and a half years at the helm, albeit with the last 12 months a virtual write-off due to Covid-19, winning the Intermediate A League and the Marshall Cup, the two most prestigious trophies in Mid Ulster League football.

And he officially announced he was leaving Banbridge Rangers at the start of the month, but says the decision had been a while in coming.

He also told The Outlook he hadn't planned to take up another managerial post so soon, instead hoping, at 35, to play for a year or two more.

"I knew that it was going to be my final year at Banbridge Rangers. They knew from December that was my plan.

"I'm only 35 and in my head I was going to play this year, I genuinely missed playing, but then Rathfriland came in with the offer and it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

"I knew if I did turn it down I would kick myself and I felt it was an opportunity I had to take."

With the team having had a number of positive years playing in the top flight of the Northern Amateur Football League, Ally has plotted a way forward to see the club reach hopefully even greater heights.

"That Rathfriland squad has been excellent and it has won the Bob Radcliffe Cup, but there's also a lot of boys on the wrong side of 30.

"I'll want to keep the senior players but in my view it needs younger bodies brought into the squad.

"I don't want to break up the squad but I do think the squad needs more energy.

"I want more players that are local and a few younger players, I want my team based around that.

"This is a great opportunity for me, I have done alright so far in management and I'm really looking forward to the challenge at Iveagh Park."

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