Rollo looking forward to Eagles' challenge

EAST ANTRIM'S best known footballing Scotsman, Davy Rollo, is looking forward to the forthcoming season as the new manager of Whitehead Eagles.

Used to looking after breakdowns in his day job for the AA, Davy will be trying to put Whitehead back on the right road next season, when there will be a new look about the Castleview Road club. Last season, for instance, it was generally recognised that it was virtually a one-man show, with Michael Whitall carrying out the roles of manager, treasurer and kitman!

Whitall will still be involved, as treasurer and the new assistant manager, while Paddy Quinlan will be looking after the coaching, with Mark McCormick, who intends to play for the Seconds, also coming in to do some fitness work.

Davy Powell remains the manager of the Seconds, where he has a new assistant in former first-team defender Paul Quiery.

There will also be a few additions to a new-look committee.

Rollo had cut his managerial teeth over the past couple of seasons at Islandmagee Seconds, helping John McAllister to take them to the 3B title in 2008, and then taking over when McAllister left for Newington Rangers the following October.

As a player Rollo had two stints at Carrick Rangers under fellow Scot Jim O’Rourke and Paul Mooney; a loan spell at Brantwood and a few months at Civil Service where he won their Player of the Year. But he is best known for his time with Islandmagee – an 11-year stretch in which he was the lynchpin of their defence.

A native of Falkirk, Davy’s playing career started at 16 when he made his debut in the Scottish Second Division for Cowdenbeath, before being transferred to Stirling Albion, who had just got promoted to the First Division.

He stayed with Stirling for three seasons, before being farmed out on a six-month loan to his local junior team Dunipace Juniors.

However, that summer he also went on holidays to Majorca, where he met what turned out to be his own perfect match (and now his wife), Barbara from Carrick. The rest, as they say, is history.

Davy came over to East Antrim to live, where he was soon lured to Carrick Rangers by his fellow countryman O’Rourke, finishing off one season on loan at Brantwood.

However, it was another chance meeting with striker Davy Dougan that enticed him down to Islandmagee, where the new manager was his boss during that loan spell at Brantwood, Ivor McGucken. And when Ivor departed, the new man at the helm was another familiar face, Jim Pherson, the second team manager during Davy’s stint at Carrick Rangers.

Davy Rollo would like to sincerely thank Crawford Wilson and everyone at Islandmagee for all their help and support during his stint at Wilbourne Park, adding: “Crawford has been a great help to me over the years, and I hope I have left the club on good terms. I know the first result I’ll be looking for is Islandmagee’s.”

But now Rollo is very much focussed on the next chapter of his footballing career and looking forward to the challenge at Whitehead. He has already made one astute signing, in snapping up one of his former defensive partners at Islandmagee, Neil McConnell.