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Smith exits club

COLERAINE FC can confirm that Marty Smith has left his position as the club’s U20 manager…

Smith leaves his post after helping the Bannsiders win the Premiership Development League for the first time in the club’s history, which completed a hat-trick after previous title success at U16 and U18 level.

The L/Derry native also managed the first team from Northern Ireland in the UEFA Youth League as the Bannsiders beat FK Pobeda from North Macedonia, before losing out to KRC Genk in the next round.

With the help of coaches at all levels of the club, Smith has played his role in several members of the Academy making their step-up to the first-team in recent years, including the likes of Patrick Kelly, Luca Doherty, Senan Devine, Alfie Gaston, Ciaran O’Hara, Sam McClintock and Aidan Tejada.

Smith said of his departure: “I’ve had an unbelievable five years at the club. I’ve been privileged to work at one of the biggest clubs in the country and play a part in developing some top young talent.

“Winning the league title with under 16’s, under 18’s and more recently under 20’s and also leading the club in the UEFA Youth League will be major highlights for me and will always hold special memories.

“The friendships and relationships I have built with many people linked to and within the club is something that I won’t forget.

“I wish Oran, the players and everyone at the club the very best going forward. I won’t be a stranger at The Showgrounds.

“I’m looking forward to a fresh challenge, wherever that may be, but I will also be keeping a keen eye on events at Coleraine.

“Finally, I would like to thank Brian Devine, Gary Taylor and Ronny Dealey for their support and being with me every step of the way.”

Boss Oran Kearney praised Smith for his tireless work at The Showgrounds and wished him well for the future.

He added: “Marty and I have had a couple of good chats about the best plan forward in terms of where he sees himself.

“If he wanted to stay in the development side of the game, he is in the perfect job but there comes a point where you’ve got to bite the bullet in terms of moving into senior football.

“The easiest thing for us to do would have persuaded Marty to stay but we wouldn’t be doing him any justice.

“We currently have a strong cohort of young players making the breakthrough into the first-team and it’s important that we can produce some of our own.

“Marty is the final part of that so-to-speak and it’s a great testament to him and all the coaches at the Academy that we have so many in and around the first-team at present.”