O’Donnell departs Dundalk for head coach role at St Patrick’s Athletic
Stephen O’Donnell ended his seven year association with Dundalk FC on Saturday when he took up the role of head coach at St Patirck’s Athletic.
The 33-year-old had most recently been chief opposition analyst under head coach Vinny Perth.
After signing for Dundalk from Shamrock Rovers at the end of 2012, O’Donnell became a key figure in a period of dominance for the Lilywhites, winning four league titles, two FAI Cups and two EA Sports Cups in six seasons, whilst also playing a key role in Dundalk’s famous European run in 2016.
The Galwegian hung up his playing boots at the end of last season and has since played an important role in Dundalk’s new management team as chief opposition analyst, travelling around Ireland and Europe to help to prepare the squad for games this season.
Head coach Vinny Perth thanked O’Donnell for his contribution to the management team this season and paid tribute to the part he played in Dundalk’s success on the pitch in recent years.
He said: “When Stevie arrived here seven years ago, it’s fair to say that a lot of people had things to prove in their career. He’s certainly proved them. He’s been a major asset for Dundalk as captain and I just want to thank him for his role in the management team.
“He’s been a big help for what we’ve done so far and, if we achieve anything this year, he will have played a part in that, there is no doubt. We wish him well for the future.”
“It’s all happened very quick,” said O’Donnell, who has signed a two-year deal with the Inchicore club. “I was at Belfield [watching for Dundalk] when UCD were playing St Pat’s. And it has accelerated during the week, so I am delighted that it has all got sorted.
“I’m very grateful to Garreth [Kelleher] for giving me the opportunity to have my first job as a manager at such a big club.
“I’m delighted to be at St Pat’s, it’s a massive club.
“I always loved playing at Richmond Park, it’s a great tight ground and I know what it is like when the place is bouncing and St Pat’s are doing well.
“I am well aware that it is a risk as an inexperienced manager but I have full confidence in my ability to restore St Pat’s [to be competing] at the top end of the table and being challengers.”
Dundalk FC chief executive Mark Devlin said: “Stephen O’Donnell will be remembered as one of Dundalk’s all-time greats. In his six years as a player at Oriel Park, he played a big part in transforming the club through his professionalism on and off the pitch and he will always be held in great affection by staff and supporters alike.
“Everyone at the club would like to thank Stephen for his dedication, effort and commitment both as a player and this season as part of the management team, in what we hope will be another successful season for the club. We wish him all the very best for the future.”