Former Man United U21 captain McConnell returns to Ulster Senior League

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Former Manchester United Under-21 captain Ryan McConnell is set to make a return to football in the Ulster Senior League.

McConnell has signed with USL title-chasers Letterkenny Rovers and could be in the Cathedral Town side for Sunday’s FAI Intermediate Cup clash against Cherry Orchard.

The defender, who spent three years at United before his release in 2015, has had spells at Finn Harps and Ballinamallard recently.

However, McConnell – who played with Rovers as a schoolboy – left Ballinamallard before Christmas and has linked up again with Rovers, who are awaiting an international clearance for the player ahead of the weekend’s game in Dublin.

Rovers boss Eamon McConigley has also added Paul McVeigh to his ranks. McVeigh returns to Rovers after six months in Scotland.

“They’ll be two good additions and will really strengthen us up,” McConigley says.

“They have played at senior level too and will bring us on.

“It’s about who works hardest on the day and we don’t put too much emphasis or focus on the opposition.

“We have been pretty consistent this season and we’ll have a chance to go top with our games in hand.

“We haven’t played a competitive game in a long time and it has been a frustrating period. We’re trying to train and train, but it’s hard without a game.”

Sean McCarron’s departure for Institute leaves McConigley down a striker who had been on song.

McConigley says: “Sean was a class player for us. He has gone to play at a higher grade. That’s one reason we didn’t want to lose him because he can play at a higher level of football.

“He was excellent for us, but we have been used to losing players to teams like that. You have to move on and you can’t dwell on it.”

Rovers warmed up for the weekend’s voyage with a 2-1 friendly win over Donegal League leaders Kildrum Tigers, with McVeigh and McConnell both featuring.

McConigley says: “We played Kildrum Tigers in a friendly on Sunday and we were glad to get that. it gave us 90 minutes that we needed and it was quite a good game.

“There was a bit of rustiness, but it was good to get it before we go to Dublin. We can put some things right from that hopefully for Sunday.”

Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years' experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.

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