Former NI player O’Neill takes over at Wellington Rec

Colin O'Neill
Colin O'Neill

FORMER Northern Ireland international Colin O’Neill is the new manager of Wellington Rec FC.

As a player, O’Neill had stints at Ards, Larne, Ballymena United, and Portadown and Motherwell. It was at the Scottish club where he scored a ‘famous’ goal with a spectacular 35-yarder in extra-time against Celtic, booking their a place in the 1991 Scottish Cup final where they defeated Dundee United. It was also voted the ‘best goal’ in the club’s history.

At the end of his playing career Colin was manager of Coleraine for a spell, and has also managed in the Mid-Ulster League. He had also been assistant to Graham McConnell at Larne, and this season had been Director of Football at Inver Park.

However, as he told the Times: “Director of Football was only a name. I wasn’t doing any coaching. I was stuck in the background, but I’ve played football all my life, I wanted to be more involved. I think my main job was making the sandwiches!

“I’d like to take this opportunity of wishing Larne and Graham McConnell all the best. Graham really is 110% Larne. I’ve seen him paint walls, cut grass – how many other managers would do that?

“But this is a chance to get involved in football again. I know people up at Wellington, like Billy Duddy and Jeff Carmichael who was at Larne when I was there, and Kenny Thompson who is going to be my new assistant.

“I know it’s going to be a hard job. I’m living and working in Larne now, I’m aware that they’ve lost something like eight players, but I don’t want to go up there and get beaten every week, and I’m sure they don’t want that either.

“I’ve already got a few feelers out and I’ve a few contacts up in Belfast. I also had a look at the Seconds on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m a football man – and I can’t wait to get started!”

Wellington remain rooted to the foot of Division 1A and the Colin O’Neill era starts with a possible ‘six-pointer’ away to Barn United at Haslett Park.