Ballymun snap up dynamic duo after Sheriff success

by Dave Donnelly
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One of the more surprising developments of the off-season was Ballymun United manager Joey Graydon, having guided his team to successive promotions up to LSL Sunday Senior, to step down.

The former Killester United boss led his side to a third-place finish in Sunday Senior 1 – ahead of Glenville on goal difference – to complete a remarkable rise to the top level of intermediate ball.

Ballymun wasted little time in finding his replacement, hiring the recently-departed Sheriff YC duo Alan Reilly and Chris Giles to lead them into their first season in Sunday Senior, the top tier in intermediate football.

Reilly and Giles had won everything there was to win in their seven years at the north inner city club, taking in six back-to-back AUL Premier A titles and four FAI Junior Cups.

It was an unprecedented period of success for the Sheriff Street club backed by a golden generation including the unerringly prolific striker John Rock.

But having quit two years ago before reversing course to yield yet more success, the wildly-successful pair made the decision to seek a new challenge this summer.

That new challenge came more quickly than they expected as Ballymun got in touch and sold them a chance to manage at the pinnacle of the amateur game.

“It came up out of the blue,” Reilly told the Dublin Gazette.

“It was a call we weren’t expecting. We sat down and we thought hard and long about it, and it was an exciting challenge, and a challenge I was looking for in regards to myself and Chris.

“We had a good chat. We looked at it and we said maybe it’s time to look at something different.”

After a remarkable six years, Sheriff relinquished their crown as Premier A champions to worthy successors in Usher Celtic last month.

Reilly and Giles – son of the legendary former Ireland player and manager John – had already decided that it was time to challenge themselves at a higher level of football.

With the entire Ballymun squad eager to stay on for next season – and Reilly already eyeing a couple of judicious additions – the future looks bright on the northside.

“They have a bunch of players looking to compete at the next level. We’re looking to come in and add one or two faces to it and hopefully they can have a crack at intermediate football.

“It’s a big challenge. It’s top intermediate football. It’s a challenge every week in itself. Everybody can take points off everybody.

“It is new to us, but it is a challenge for myself and Chris and one I’m greatly looking forward to.”

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