Niall McGuinness is the new manager at Rhyl FC – and the youngest in the Welsh Premier.
The Lillywhites’ Academy Director takes over first team affairs at Belle Vue for the rest of the season as the club aims to avoid relegation. He replaces Gareth Owen, who was sacked on Tuesday.
The 24 year-old from Rhyl faces the task of keeping the Lillywhites in the top flight in what is his first managerial role. His first game in charge will be a vital clash at relegation rivals Port Talbot Town this Saturday – the Steelmen are currently five points above the drop zone.
McGuinness’ coaching work with the Academy, which recently announced a tie-up with Liverpool veteran Jamie Carragher, earned him the Young Coach of the Year accolade at the 2014 Wales Sports Awards. Crucial to his appointment as first team manager was his UEFA / FAW Youth A licence, which he recently passed.
His father, Laurie McGuinness, has been named as Assistant Manager, taking over from Owen’s right hand man, Mark Roberts, whose also left Belle Vue. McGuinness senior returns to the Rhyl setup having previously served as head coach during the club’s record-breaking 2003-4 season, when it won four trophies under then-manager John Hulse – including the Welsh Premier title. More recently, he worked as head coach with Prestatyn Town.
Speaking about his appointment on Wednesday night, McGuinness junior said he was honoured to take the hot seat having working up from academy and youth level: ”It is a proud moment for me. To have Lawrence McGuiness alongside me who is a very experienced coach at this level having coached in Europe and has won the Welsh Cup twice, the Welsh Premier League and more with this club in previous years I strongly believe we have all the right ingredients and will try our very best to succeed and keep Rhyl FC in the Welsh Premier League.”
Regular score updates on Port Talbot Town vs Rhyl on MatchPoint Live, this Saturday from 2pm on Point FM 103.1 and at pointfm.co.uk