PODCAST: Harry McConkey talks about his departure

Football is fundamentally a results-driven business and no one knows this better than Harry McConkey.

Ballinamallard United parted ways with their manager on Saturday after the club’s goalless draw to Annagh United at the BMG Arena the previous evening.

After five years in charge, an inconsistent run of results turned out to be McConkey’s undoing, although he never stopped believing in his team.


“After playing Annagh in the league on Friday night we had played everyone once and no team had turned us over dramatically in the league,” McConkey explained.

“We had a great win over league leaders Newington two weeks before that thanks to Simon Warrington’s great hat-trick.

“Then we drew with Ards and Annagh United when with a bit of luck we could have got more from both games.

“There were definitely rays of hope from both matches.”

However, two heavy Cup losses – a 5-1 loss to Ards in the League Cup and a 5-2 defeat to Limavady in the Northwest Cup – in the past two weeks had increased the pressure on McConkey.

“We had fielded weakened teams in those Cup games as our priority was to get better league results,” McConkey said.

“After the Cup losses, I was informed that people in the committee had lost confidence in me, but after giving it some thought, I decided not to give up on my players and continue on.

“It was then made clear to me that the team had to win against Annagh on Friday night and Ballyclare in our next league game if I was to stay with the club.


“I didn’t tell the players the situation and it was only after the game finished 0-0 against Annagh that I told them it was over.

“It was very emotional for everyone – I never gave up on the players or the club.”

It’s also fair to say that the football Gods were not kind to McConkey and his side at crucial times this season.

“The timing of the two Cup matches worked against us,” he explained.

“We’ve had no luck in certain situations and games, but that’s football.

“It’s been overwhelming the kind words and texts I have received since Saturday and that means an awful lot to me.

“I really do hope the players and the club move forward together from here and get the results they deserve.”

Club captain Mark Stafford will take charge of team affairs at Ballinamallard until the club appoints a permanent manager to replace McConkey.

Stafford will be assisted by former player James McKenna, who stepped down from his role as joint-manager at Enniskillen Town last month

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