RATHFRILAND: To the Premier and beyond

New Rathfriland Rangers manager Paul Kirk (left) and coach Stevie Houston (right) are welcomed to Iveagh Park by club chairman Howard Murray. Photo: Iain McDowell / Rathfriland FC
New Rathfriland Rangers manager Paul Kirk (left) and coach Stevie Houston (right) are welcomed to Iveagh Park by club chairman Howard Murray. Photo: Iain McDowell / Rathfriland FC
0
Have your say

Rathfriland Rangers are a club with grand ambitions.

They appointed former Lisburn Distillery manager Paul Kirk over the weekend - a move that only added to the wave of excitement flooding over Iveagh Park.

Clifford Sterritt resigned from the position due to personal reasons last week at the end of the season that had brought the Amateur League Division 1A title.

With Kirk’s appointment though, it’s full steam ahead - and the destination goes beyond the top of the Amateur League tree. The club are even forging tentative dreams of reaching NIFL’s top three tiers of Northern Irish football - something they could achieve by winning the Amateur League.

“The drive is to win the league in two or three seasons,” said Kirk

“Then we’ll get a new set of objectives and see where it takes us.”

Should Rangers win the Premier League, they would also need the infrastructure around the club to be at the required level and are planning on taking another step closer to that next year.

That’s with a 200 seater stand that chairman Howard Murray confirmed was ‘under starters orders,’ awaiting a potential grant to help it on its way.

The chairman is hopeful that it will be built in 2017 but wasn’t keen to rush talk of a meteoric rise through the divisions.

“We’re just thinking in the near future for now,” he laughed when questioned about a possible NIFL
 future. “We’ll consolidate in the Premier League. It’s a tough league with a similar quality to Championship Two but without the big travelling.”

Murray also paid tribute to outgoing boss Clifford Sterritt and spoke of his delight at Kirk’s arrival.

“Paul has a lot of connection and has succeeded at a very high level in the game,” he said.

“The change came due to Cliff having to stand down for personal reasons. 
Paul became available and 
we were very pleased to get him on board.

“I’ve known Paul for a long time and he has a lot of ability. It’s great that we’re able to attract such a high calibre of manager.

“We have done that 
before with Clifford, 
Alan Fraser, Stevie McBride and Brian Adair. It’s 
very pleasing.”