BREAKING: Athlone Town FC appoint manager

Athlone Town AFC has confirmed that Colin Fortune will be its first team manager for the 2017 season.

Making the announcement Athlone Town AFC Chairman John Hayden said: 'The club is happy to announce that Colin will be returning as first team manager for the forthcoming season.'

'Colin took over in an interim capacity last June and did an excellent job with the players. He knows the club inside out having served as both a player and in recent years as a coach of our successful underage teams.'

'It makes perfect sense for all concerned that he be reappointed as manager for the entire 2017 First Division campaing,' said Mr Hayden.

Colin is particularly knowledgeable about football in the Athlone/Midlands area given that he is both a native and a resident of the town, Mr Hayden said.

'He is a nephew of the legendary O'Connor brothers Turlough, Michael and Padraig. They all served Athlone Town AFC with great distinction over many years and the club has no doubt that Colin will continue in that tradition.' Mr Hayden added.

'I have no doubt that all football people and fans of Athlone AFC will wish Colin every success over the coming season,' Mr Hayden concluded.

Speaking after his appointment was confirmed Colin said he is 'relishing the challenge that lies ahead.' 

As well as playing for Athlone Colin (40) also lined out for Dundalk, Kildare County and Galway United during his League of Ireland career said being appointed manager of his local team is 'a huge honour.'

'As somebody who started watching Athlone from the terraces at the old St Mel's Park as a schoolboy and my family's connections with the club I am delighted to have been appointed manager of the club.'

Since his appointment Colin, who is a serving member of the Irish Defence Forces is busy seeking to sign players for next season.

He hopes to retain players he worked with last season, He has also placed a strong emphasis on recruiting players from the locality for the 2017 First Division campaign.

He was pleased with the level of commitment shown by the players last season, however he hopes to bring in some new faces to bolster the squad.

In addition he says that Athlone's youth set-up will in time pay dividends.

'In recent years we have produced a lot of good underage players. We are doing a lot of things right with our underage teams and have produced some of the best young players in the Midlands and further afield. I hope that some or all of these lads will be the building block of future success,' he concluded.