Mark Quigley is aiming to give back to the club that moulded him as a boy as he takes up the reins at Sheriff YC for the coming season.
The Sean McDermott Street native was appointed following the departure of wildly-successful duo Alan Reilly and Chris Giles for Ballyfermot United last month.
Quigley enjoyed a glittering career in the League of Ireland as a player, winning the Premier Division title with Sligo Rovers in 2012 when he was named player of the year by his peers.
After coming through the youth system with Sheriff and Belvedere, the 32-year-old made nine appearances for Millwall before returning to Ireland with St Patrick’s Athletic in 2006.
After stints with Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians, Dundalk and Derry City, the Dubliner signed back with his boyhood team last year.
The departure of Reilly and Giles this summer brought about his promotion to management quicker than he thought, but it’s a demanding role he’s excited to take on.
“The players sort of encouraged me, and they knew I was a decent coach and I’ve got some knowledge of football,” Quigley tells the Dublin Gazette.
“I went and met the committee and put my name forward, went for the interview and I must have done OK because I was announced as manager.”
Quigley has done some coaching in recent years with the club’s Saturday team and East Wall Bessborough, but this is his first job as a head coach.
“I’m not getting any younger so, when you get to my age, if you want to stay in football, the next progression is coaching and management.
“To get such a big job for your first job is amazing and I’m honoured the board chose me to bring this club forward. It’s really an exciting time.
“I’m not daunted by the challenge at all. We still have an amazing squad of players, and I’m hoping to add not too many, a bit of youth maybe and a bit of freshness to the squad.
“The club can continue to go forward and integrate some of the B team players. For too long, the senior side has been out on its own. Because they were winning so much, it was hard for the lads to get in.”
One key aspect. Quigley feels, in his favour is the fact he still lives in the area and is accessible to kids and parents around the club.
Having started out with the club himself at the age of six, he’s keenly aware of the benefit Sheriff provides to the disadvantaged area and the strides they’re making on and off the field.
“I’m still in the area, and it’s good to have the Sheriff manager living in the area. For people, it’s good they can see the head of the club still walking the streets and they can have the chat.
“Parents from the underage teams can have a chat, and I’m open to everybody so I think it’s good for the club that they have somebody still from the area taking over the club.
“It’s good that it’s the first club I ever played for and it’ll be the last club I’ll ever play for, and now I’m managing them. It’s come full circle.
“It’s been a lot of years and a lot of hard work, and to come back to the club and give back the bit of knowledge I’ve picked up over the years, [it’s great].”