Brendan Rea appointed Kilkenny City manager

By Matt Keane

Kilkenny City Football Club have turned to a Buckley Park hero in a bid to revive their Eircom League fortunes.

After a series of interviews, Brendan Rea, a towering central defender in their Eircom League First Division winning season of 1996, has been appointed manager of the club’s senior team. Rea will sign a two-year contract. Head Coach will be Ray Moran, who had a short stint with the Cats at the end of last season.

Kilkenny City Director, Jim Rhatigan, said he believed Rea¹s appointment would herald the start of a new era. He said Rea had shown huge passion for the club as a player and he looked forward to this manifesting itself on the park in season 2007.

He said the club was also delighted to have secured the services of Ray Moran who is a highly qualified coach.

Brendan Rea said he was thrilled to get the opportunity to manage an Eircom League side. He said his heart was always with Kilkenny City, a club that had given him his senior football break as a young player, and he looked forward to bringing the club forward as a manager.

One of the first to welcome the new appointment was Rea’s former Buckley Park boss, Alfie Hale, who said Rea’s great heart as a player should give real heart to the club for the new season. He said he admired Brendan’s professional attitude to the game and would always be available to him if he needed advice.

"I still have a soft spot for Kilkenny City Football Club where I enjoyed four happy years as manager, particularly the season when we won the league by 11 points," said the former Republic of Ireland striker.

Jim Rhatigan explained that the player focus for the new season would be on committed local and regional talent in the South East.

Blues player and manager

Brendan Rea returned to play for Waterford Crystal last season when the Waterford United Club decided that they wanted a new manager after Rea and Pat Dolan had rescued the club from relegation two seasons ago.

Rea brought in Pat Dolan to help him after the team had got off to a poor start. The team looked odds on to be relegated for a long period that season but Rea and Dolan turned things around and they finished the season in a comfortable mid table position, with clubs such as Finn Harps, UCD and St Patrick’s Athletic below them.One of their great nights together was on a memorable night in Dalymount Park when a victory over Shamrock Rovers guaranteed the Blues safety.

The Hoops, who were managed by Roddy Collins at the time were in fact relegated themselves that season. Despite the incredible finish by the Blues that season it was decided by Waterford United to appoint a new manager for the following season and some time later Mike Kerley was put in charge.

Brendan Rea returned to his only local junior club, Waterford Crystal and he played a major role as the club won the FAI Junior Cup be defeating Athenry in the final in Terryland Park.That was a glorious day in the history of Waterford Crystal and indeed in the history of Waterford football.

Brendan Rea has won a First Division medal with Waterford United as a player and it is also worth pointing out that he was a playing memeber of the Kilkenny City team that defeated Waterford United in a two legged relegation-promotion series when Mike Flanagan was the manager of Waterford and Paul Power was the Kilkenny City manager.

Brendan Rea certainly has had a chequered career when it comes to the rivalry between the two clubs and with Waterford United back in the Fist Division once again, there is no doubt that there will be a lot of twists and turns along the way when the new season kicks off in March.

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