Holland’s aim is to bring Bandon soccer club back to MSL’s top flight

Passionate club man is from a family steeped in Bandon
Holland’s aim is to bring Bandon soccer club back to MSL’s top flight

Mayfield United's Kevin O'Connell is tackled by Bandon's Sean Holland and Gavin Shields during the MSL First Division clash at the Town Park in Bandon. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

HIS goal and ambitions for his team are straightforward but not easily achieved. And they are to get the club back playing in the top tier of Cork soccer as soon as possible.

Bandon manager Sean Holland, whose side are competing in the MSL First Division, believes they have what it takes to gain promotion this season.

“We are in a very competitive division with some big clubs, but I feel we can hold our own,” said Holland. “I am hoping we can challenge for promotion this year; if we believe we can, then why not.”

The 33-year-old from Bandon took over the reigns as manager from his brother Richie (current assistant manager to Colin Healy at Cork City) two seasons ago and seeing his side progress and develop over that period is what has motivated him to keep going.

“I took over two years ago from my brother Richie and my aim is to have a team that the town can be proud of.

“A team that gives it their best every week and hopefully can compete for promotion. I have played in the senior team over the last 12 years and I was lucky enough to captain the team during a successful period, but now it’s an honour for me to be managing the first team and I hope I can play my part in getting them back playing premier football.”

Sean Holland, Bandon, and Cal Sheehy, Leeds, challenge for possession. Picture: Larry Cummins, 
Sean Holland, Bandon, and Cal Sheehy, Leeds, challenge for possession. Picture: Larry Cummins, 

Coming from a footballing family, it was always evident Holland would be involved in the game at a high level and having gained a lot of experience as a player, he is ready to take the club to the next level.

“I have played soccer since I was a young lad. I come from a soccer family and having four brothers all very competitive and all have played with Bandon through schoolboys and beyond.

Probably the highlight of my underage years came in 2004 when I was a part of a very talented U18s team that beat Cork City U18s in the Jackie Lennox Youths cup final.

"I was playing above my age group and Liam Murphy signed me soon after to play with Cork City U17s. I enjoyed a successful period winning leagues and cups with City underage.

“I really enjoyed playing and learning from the coaches at the club. After that I had a successful period playing under Niall O’Regan at Knockavilla Celtic, winning the AUL Premier A division.

“I then enjoyed more success with Peter Jones and Kinsale winning the AOH Cup and Premier Division title. But my best memories are from 2010 onwards.

“Back playing with my hometown club, working again with Niall who got the club from Division 2 to the Premier Division and also playing Shelbourne in 2013 in Tolka Park in the FAI Cup second round.

“In 2015, with Peter winning Bandon’s first senior trophy (MSL Division 1) it was brilliant.

“On the coaching side, I coached underage teams while I was playing with Bandon and linked up with my brother Richie to coach the U18 team of 2013 to win the U18 league undefeated.

“More satisfying than winning that trophy is the fact that a number of those players are in the current senior team and I hope I can get them to the top tier of the MSL.

“I am lucky to have a great backroom staff. There are all lads that I played with and shared great success with on the pitch.

Experience

“They have great experience of MSL football and are great clubmen. Sean Lordan, a former player who was a part of the recent successful period the club has coached underage teams in the club. He is brilliant around the group.

“Paul O’Brien, another ex-player who has been coaching in the underage over the past number of years. He played centre-forward back in the day. Brendan Hurley is the newest member of the staff. He was a top MSL goalkeeper, has a great understanding of the MSL and he has been a great addition to the squad.

The squad has a good mix of youth and experience. We have lads who were part of successful teams in the past and the younger players have come through the underage system.

“We have added a few also. We signed Garry Matthews from Kerry who has been a great addition. We also signed Mac Douglas who is from Bandon but has been playing his football with College Corinthians the last few years.

“Again, he is an exciting player and will be an important player. We have had no retirements this year which is great so we are all really looking forward to the season ahead.”

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