"Minnock's experience is an asset" - McConigley
by alan foley
Letterkenny Rovers manager Eamonn McConigley feels the rest of his players can learn from the influence he feels new signing Jonathan Minnock will have on the club.
The Leckview Park side completed the signing of the 34-year-old defender on Friday night and Finn Harps' record appearance holder, having represented the Ballybofey team on over 485 occasions, could prove to be a significant player as Rovers attempt to grasp back the Ulster Senior League title from Cockhill Celtic.
Last season, Letterkenny were well-placed to win the title consecutively for the first time in their history. They led Donal O'Brien's Cockhill by eight points at one stage, having played a game more, but in the end the Buncrana based outfit reeled them in before going on to win both the league and Knockalla Caravans Cup. They also ousted Rovers from the FAI Intermediate Cup in October.
"We are delighted to have Jonathan on board and we hope that he will have a similar impact to Shane Bradley, who was with us for the last couple of seasons," McConigley said this week.
"The persistent knee injures were unfortunate for Shane but in Jonathan we have got a senior player with a good attitude and that will be a massive boost to the club.
"If we had him here for the last five games of last season we could have retained the title. Down the years he has had a great League of Ireland career and by all accounts he is an excellent trainer and will bring a level of professionalism to Letterkenny Rovers that will rub off on the other players. He experience is an asset."
The son of the former Athlone Town, St Patrick's Athletic and Finn Harps player John Minnock, Jonathan first arrived at Harps in January 1994 after being spotted in the colours of his hometown club Convoy Arsenal.
He then spent the vast majority of his career by the Finn, as well as a season with Shelbourne in 2001/02 where he won the League of Ireland Premier Division.
Two years ago, he dropped out of senior football and spent a season at Kildrum Tigers, but last February he returned to Harps for a third and final time under the management of James Gallagher.
However, having been placed on the transfer list by Gallagher "for budget reasons" the experienced Minnock, who played the majority of his career at left-back before moving into the centre of defence, left the club within days.
During his time at Harps, Minnock picked up a First Division winners' medal in 2004, as well as helping the club to three runners-up spots in the First Division, a 1999 FAI Cup runners-up medal and an Irish News Cup winners medal.
Minnock joined Swilly Rovers in the capacity of player-manager at the tail-end of last season in a brief tenure that last five games.
Kildrum were said to be interested in re-signing Minnock, who works as a porter in Letterkenny General Hospital, but the player himself made his mind up last week before signing for McConigley's side.
Rovers return for pre-season training on February 14 and are expected to get their campaign underway with a League Cup fixture on the last weekend in March, before the Ulster Senior League gets begins in mid-April.
Jonathan Minnock's signature will be a boost to Letterkenny Rovers ahead of the new Ulster Senior League campaign