Former U-21 star Conor Powell leaves Nowary for Longford deal
IN AN age when League of Ireland players moan about the instability which comes with a 40-week contract, Dubliner Conor Powell has gone in another direction and walked away from a contract with a continental club and returned to Ireland.
The former U21 cap should now be in pre-season with Norwegian club Vard and heading into the second season of his two-year contract, but instead Powell will tonight be part of the Longford Town side taking on Shelbourne in a pre-season friendly.
Over the weekend, Powell, 27, agreed on a move to Longford following talks with manager Tony Cousins, another spell in the domestic league for the defender who previously played for Bohemians, Sligo Rovers and Shamrock Rovers.
Powell had stability and a comfortable life in Scandinavia but that was not enough of a challenge and once he was able to agree on a exit from his club a year ahead of schedule, he was happy to come home to Ireland.
"I had a two-year contract out there and I am back home after one year. I know some people would think I am crazy as lots of players would love the luxury of a two-year deal but coming home was the right move for me," says Powell.
"The football side of things out there was fine, even though it was a disappointment that we didn't get promoted last season as that was the aim when I went there.
"But my life outside of football there just wasn't great, basically there was nothing to do.
"It was a small town and there's only so much time you can spend in the gym or sitting around drinking coffee. Maybe if I had been in Olso or one of the big cities it would have been easier but boredom was a big factor and I didn't want to have another year of the same. So I approached the club, said I wanted to come home to Ireland and they gave it the ok," added Powell.
Seeing the bigger picture, the Portmarnock lad has already taken steps to build up a career outside of football, on a course in fitness instruction and physical education.
But he still has ambitions within the league and hopes to do well with a Longford side who will be back in the top flight in the coming season after a long spell in Division One.
"Longford were the only club I spoke to and I was very impressed with Tony Cousins' plans for the club," says Powell, twice a league winner with Bohs.
"They have a good group of young players there from last season but with people like Stephen Rice, Pat Sullivan, Pat Flynn and Mark Rossiter we have experience and I hope I can add to that as well.
"Longford were a big force when I started out with Bohs nine years ago, they've had a couple of bad years since then but I always remember Longford as a hard place to get a result and if we can make Longford a fortress again, teams will hate playing there and we can do well. Staying up is the aim but maybe we can do well in the cups as Longford teams did in the past," he added.