Rollo aims to ‘steady the ship’ as he takes reins at Islandmagee

Davy Rollo has been appointed as the new boss of Islandmagee. INLT 24-903-CON
Davy Rollo has been appointed as the new boss of Islandmagee. INLT 24-903-CON

New Islandmagee boss David Rollo has set his sights on a top-seven finish in next season’s Northern Amateur League Premier Division.

As exclusively revealed online by the Times, the 40-year-old Scot was appointed as the manager last Thursday. Now he says he’s aiming to bring stability after the shock departure of Stephen Donald in May.

Donald quit Wilbourne Park after nine years at the helm and Rollo admits he has big shoes to fill as he endeavours to make his mark at a club he served for more than a decade as a player.

The Falkirk native, who had spells as a player with Striling Albion and Cowdenbeath, told the Times: “I’m delighted to take over at Islandmagee. I played with the first-team for 11 seasons and spent one with the reserves so I know what it’s all about.

“In the short-term, I see my job as steadying the ship and building from there.

“I don’t think there will be too much expected of me in the first season, but I’d like to see the team finish higher than they did last year in the Premier League. A top-half finish would be great.

“Islandmagee is one of the biggest Amateur League clubs in the East Antrim area. I know how the club operates, and they look after you well.

“It may just take a bit of time for the players to get used to me and for the club to see how I work.

“I like the boys to play football and get the ball down on the deck the way the game should be played. But tactics change with every match you play. From that point of view, I’m flexible in that I don’t have a particular brand of football.

“It’s a tough league and it has changed since I played in it.

“Ards Rangers are a very strong side these days and then you have the likes of Immaculata and Albert Foundry.

“Our home games are going to be very important and, to be honest, I think we might be a young team next year. The guys I hope to bring in are all fresh and I’d like to build a team there.

“Hopefully we can start to compete and become a team and gel together.”

Rollo has had previous managerial experience spending two seasons at Newington Rangers and Whitehead Eagles. However, he cut his teeth in management at Islandmagee when he was second-team boss under a certain Stephen Donald.

“They are big shoes to fill,” he said. “Stephen’s got the experience. He’s a knowledgeable guy and he always seemed to sign the right players at the right time.”

Rollo’s assistant will be Michael Whitall, and John Haveron will be the first-team coach. Warren Coard is the new goalkeeping coach, while Alan Hughes takes over as second-team boss.

Islandmagee chairman Crawford Wilson said: “Davy’s an ex-player, he’s keen on the job and he’s enthusiastic. We’re looking forward to see what he brings to the role.”