Saturday 22 October 2016

No sign of panic at Sligo for boss Owen Heary

'Our season starts today' says Heary after poor start to season from the Bit O' Red

Owen Heary
Owen Heary

IN HIS long years of service, as a player and then a manager, with Shelbourne and Bohemians, Owen Heary was able to go about his life and his business uninterrupted.

Life in the west of Ireland, as manager of Sligo Rovers FC, is a lot different and Heary, only the second Dubliner in over 20 years to manage the club and now a Sligo resident, can sometimes find it hard to get some peace.

Especially when things are not going so well for the club and that's the case in 2015, where Sligo - who were tipped by many in pre-season as dark horses for the title - are looking up, not down, the table after a return of just two points from five games.

Many of the natives, understandably, are restless and yesterday the club chairman used Rovers' official website to criticise the abuse on social media which had been directed at the Sligo players.

He's not a convert to the world of twitter so Heary is unaware of the online stuff. But he believes that supporters are still behind him and his bid to make Sligo - well off the pace in the race for honours and a European place last season - into contenders again.

"You get a lot of people coming up to you, if you're walking down the street or just sitting down with a cup of tea, which wasn't really the case as much when I was managing Bohemians," Heary told The Herald.

"But the ones who have come up to me have wished me well, and tell me to keep going. You get the odd person who comes over and says 'you should have done this or that'.

"One of the coaching staff turned around to someone who was having a bit of a go the other day and asked 'what do you work at?'. The chap said he was a carpet-layer, so my coach said 'do I tell you how to lay carpets?'. I don't mind people coming over to me, they are entitled to their opinions, but they all know that I am working as hard as I can," added Heary.

"I don't panic and I don't get bogged down by what happens as I know things can change for you very quickly.

"I spoke to other managers around the league, they all said to keep doing what I was doing. In order for us to pick up points we need to beat Bray today, we just have to go and win the game no matter who the manager is. It will turn around, the confidence is still high, we have made silly errors in games that have cost us points but there's no sense of panic from the staff or the players," added Heary.

"I am not on social media so I'm not aware of what's been said or not said. All I have had is support from the fans, they keep telling me to carry on what I am doing. I don't comment on what other people do work-wise but nothing has been said to me, I plan to keep my head down and work hard for this club as I know it will change."

Heary admits that his side's start to 2015 - apart from an 8-0 hammering of a non-league side in the EA Sports Cup - is not ideal.

"We have to make up points over the coming weeks, we need to pick up wins over the next while to get up the table and then make sure we really kick on in the next series of games," he added.

"The start wasn't good. I know people have said we had a hard start in terms of the fixtures - we had Cork, Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk in the first five games. But I don't accept that, you have to deal with the games as they come and we didn't get enough points from the games we had so far.

"We've lost two games in a row now and some people panic when that happens, but there's no panic from my side," he added.

Sligo, despite their poor run so far, have an advantage over today's opponents as Bray have only had their coach - Maciej Tarnogrodzki - in place for a day.

Alan Mathews and his entire coaching staff resigned on Wednesday evening so Polish national Tarnogrodzki has been promoted from the Bray U19 side, becoming the first man from outside Britain or Ireland to manage a League of Ireland club.

"I can't get worried about Bray's manager, we have to go out and win the game, play to our potential and get the three points," said Heary.

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