Doolin hangs up his boots to concentrate on managing UCD

PAUL DOOLIN yesterday finally closed the book on his distinguished career as a player to concentrate on his role as manager of UCD.

The 39-year-old Doolin played senior football for a succession of clubs in the Irish League and the National League over 21 years. He won five league championship titles and seven cup winners’ titles after his introduction to senior football with Bohemians. He subsequently served Shamrock Rovers, Derry City, Portadown and Shelbourne and had second spells with Derry, Shels and Portadown. He joined UCD last season and was registered as player and manager but yesterday admitted the demands of the job meant it was time to stand down as player.

He said: “I’ve enjoyed every minute with all my clubs and it is a bit of a wrench to walk away from playing. That is the best part of football. But UCD deserve my undivided attention as manager and that is what they are going to get.” UCD have made substantial strides under Doolin who took over when they were sliding into relegation country last season. They finished the season in a comfortable mid-table position and tonight they face a huge test with an FAI Carlsberg Cup tie against Bohemians at Dalymount Park.

UCD drew with Shamrock Rovers at Tolka Park last weekend in a scoreless game and they are likely to be unchanged. This means that striker Sean Finn will again be missing because of a thigh strain. Bohemians received the very worrying news yesterday that their winger, Dave Morrison, will miss the rest of the season because of a blood clot on a lung. When the young winger first drew attention to the problem it was thought it was a viral infection, but he will have to undergo a lengthy rehabilitation now.

Bohs will again be without centre-back Colin Hawkins as well. His chest injury has been diagnosed as four broken ribs and they are fortunate to have such a capable player as Derek Coughlan, the former Cork City defender, to slot into his position.

Manager Stephen Kenny must further juggle his forces because team captain Kevin Hunt is suffering from a thigh injury, but he is fortunate in that his withdrawal coincides with the return of midfielder Stephen Caffrey and veteran full-back Tony O’Connor who have recovered from injury and illness.

Kenny has called up three of Bohs’ young reserves to his Cup squad and all three are sure to be in the running - Ken Oman, Gary Cooney, who captained their successful FAI youths’ team last season and Jason McGuinness.

The second of the two big Dublin derbies is sure to see a packed house at Richmond Park where Shelbourne will be attempting to reverse the result of their League clash with St Pat’s of Friday last. Pats won 2-1 after leading 2-0 with 10 minutes to play.

Shelbourne manager Pat Fenlon must plan without centre-forward Stephen Geoghegan again for he is still receiving treatment for the groin injury that kept him out of the game last week. He does not expect to be fit for another two weeks.

Fenlon was attempting to find a new centre-forward to bolster his squad this week but he has had no success in his efforts to date. They are also suffering, of course, from the absence of Dessie Baker who faces a long battle to overcome his knee ligament injury. St Pat’s are certain to have Paul Marney in their team from the start after his impact when he came in as substitute last week. He was introduced after just 27 minutes when Paul Donnelly picked up a hamstring injury.

Donnelly is still struggling from the injury and cannot be considered. He was in the team as replacement for regular full-back Willie Burke who was suffering from a viral infection which also rules him out this week. Marney will start at left-back in a match which promises to be one of the most exciting of the third round. The third match in the Cup tonight will see Sligo Rovers play Bray Wanderers at the Showgrounds, where manager Don O’Riordan has added to his squad by signing Barbados international Luther Watson. He was playing with Mervue Utd in the Connacht League and is not eligible for this Cup-tie.

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