Sean-Paul Murray says he is ‘confident’ he can keep Lisburn Distillery in Championship One, after he was appointed as Head Coach this week.
The former Newington FC Assistant Manager admits there is ‘a lot of hard work to be done’, but believes he can change the Whites’ fortunes.
“I’m very excited,” Murray said of his appointment.
“My father passed away a year ago and I’ve been out since then. I wasn’t going to get back in yet, but Eamonn McCarthy (who has been appointed as assistant coach), said why don’t the two of us put in an application for the Distillery job.
“I know about the history of the club. It is a huge, huge club. Their current position doesn’t show that, but there is so much potential here.
“I’m over the moon to be appointed.”
The Club said they were ‘delighted’ to confirm Murray’s appointment.
A current IFA Player Development Programme coach and Elite Performance Programme coach, the 35 year old arrives at the club having already achieved considerable success at Newington FC.
At Newington, the new Whites boss was part of a successful team that secured no less than four NAFL Premier league titles and also secured the clubs promotion from the Amateur league to their current status within NIFL Championship Two.
In a reversal of roles from their time at Newington FC, Sean-Paul will be joined at Lisburn Distillery by his former manager Eamonn McCarthy who has agreed to take on the role of assistant manager at the club.
An experienced campaigner in the local game, Eamonn’s experience will doubtless prove invaluable to Sean-Paul as he makes the step up to manager from his former previous coaching roles.
“There is a lot of hard work to be done,” Murray said. “But I’m confident I can turn things around.
“I will have to put things in place to change some things at the club, the attitude and mindset, the fitness.
“Our objectives are one: to get out of the relegation zone and two: to get out of the division.
“I’m absolutely delighted and on another hand I think, what have I let myself in for?
“We are eight points from safety, but we need to hit the ground running.
“I’m excited about getting stuck in.
“I wish we could forward two or three weeks to see where we are, or rewind nine weeks to start from the beginning of the season.
“I am very very confident, but will not underestimate the challenge we face.”
Murray says his previous working relationship and friendship with Eamonn McCarthy will stand them in good stead, as the pair have complete trust in each other.
“The important thing is trust,” he said. “Everything is a joint decision. Trust is the big thing.”
Murray said he is ‘very keen’ to raise the standards at Distillery.
“That is something a club the size of Lisburn Distillery demands.”
Murray will take charge of his first match tomorrow (Saturday), at home to Dergview.
“We’ve done a bit of homework on Dergview, but as we are just taking over we have done a bit of homework on our own team.
“I’m looking forward to our first game, although we have four players suspended and a couple of injuries so the squad is depleted.”
The new boss said that improving the Whites’ disciplinary record is a ‘top priority’.
“It’s top of the priority list,” Murray said. “It is simply silly bookings and silly sending offs, which could be prevented.”
A Club spokesperson said: “The newly appointed duo possess considerable working knowledge of players at both senior and amateur level and both have proven in the past their ability to achieve success despite working within restricted budgets.
“Sean-Paul’s short term remit as manager is clearly to ensure progression of the results for the first team, but in the longer term he will also be requested to provide a hands on role in ensuring the development of the clubs Youth academy system and to assist in developing a long term plan which will enable easier movement of players between academy and first team levels.
“The directors of the club would like to wish Sean-Paul and Eamonn well in their new roles and would also like to place on record at this time their gratitude to Nick O’Neill, Darren Nixon and Jim McIlhagga for overseeing team affairs in a truly professional manner since the departure of former manager Tommy Kincaid.”
Murray and McCarthy will take charge of their first match with the Whites tomorrow, (Saturday), at home to Dergview in Championship One.