Exclusive: China-based Don O’Riordan confirms Finn Harps interest



THE Board of Finn Harps are to meet tonight to set a date for the club’s Annual General Meeting and the first responsibility for the new board will be to appoint a new manager for the club – one man who could be in the running is former Sligo and Galway boss Don O’Riordan.

O’Riordan, who is now based in China, confirmed to the Donegal News that he would be extremely proud if he were to be offered the role.


“I am interested in the role and would be honoured to be considered and a very proud man if I was to be offered the position. I would work tirelessly to return the club to where it rightly belongs and would love to get heavily involved on the Youth Development side,” he said.

O’Riordan managed Sligo Rovers between 2001 and 2004 having previously been at the helm in Galway between 1997 and 2001. After spending 7 years in Ireland he joined Sheffield United FC 
and was appointed as Head Coach of their Academy in China. 

Prior to the 2008 Olympic Games he worked with the Chinese Football Association who requested his help to assist the head coach of the 
Women’s national team that won their group but lost in the 
quarter final to Japan.

He has also worked as Head Coach of FCNY a new professional club in New York but after 5 months in the USA he returned to China where he is now the Technical Advisor for Beijing Baxi FC.

Having confirmed his interest in the vacant Harps job, O’Riordan added:

“I also would be looking to help on the commercial side to try to attract more sponsors to create more funds for the club. I have some new ideas that I feel would benefit any club in the LOI and would love to implement them some day soon.”

Whether or not he gets the nod however remains to the be seen and outgoing Club Chairman Joey O’Leary confirmed yesterday that there had been several applications for the position, and stressed the appointment would be one for the new board.


Sean McGowan has already confirmed his interest in the position while it is believed that former Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels may also have his hat in the ring.

Rumours have also linked former Harps players Declan Boyle, Joe Boyle and Trevor Scanlan – all who have vast coaching experience with the FAI with the post – while Fanad boss Ollie Horgan and Cockhill manager Donal O’Brien’s names have also been mentioned.

Naturally Harps are keeping the identity of the applicants close to their chest and while names such as former manager Dermot Keely have also again been mentioned, as yet Sean Wizard McGowan and now Don O’Riordan are as yet the only two to have publically expressed their desire to take over as Harps manager.

Applications for the position are due to close on Friday of this week and according to the outgoing Chairman the new board are likely to make the appointment their first priority.

Meanwhile O’Leary who has already indicated that he will be stepping down as Club Chairman having served two consecutive two year terms, suggested yesterday that the club really needs to appoint a Chief Executive Officer.

“Having served two terms as Chairman I realise the huge amount of time that is involved in this role and it is difficult for someone with other work commitments to juggle such a huge workload. If the team is to get promoted to the Premier Division it is a requirement of the licence anyway so I honestly think it is something that should be very seriously considered,” he said.

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