Pierce Flynn, Park Hotel presenting Alan Reynolds with the Waterford Sports Star Award for September. Also included are Matt Keane, WLR FM with John O’Connor and Kieran O’Connor, adjudicators. Photo: Sean Byrne.
It’s always nice when one of the adjudicating panel rings the monthly winner of the Park Hotel Waterford Sports Star Award and the first words out of his or her mouth are, “I’m thrilled, I always wanted to win a Park Award,” and this is what happened this month when Waterford FC coach Alan Reynolds got the call to say he had won the Park Award for September.
The reasons for Alan Reynolds winning his Park Hotel monthly award are obvious. He was a central figure in the club’s resurgence this year along with Director of Football, Pat Fenlon and new chairman, Lee Power and all their hard work paid off last month when the RSC was packed to capacity to see the Blues collect the Airtricity League of Ireland First Division trophy and seal their long awaited return to the top division of Irish football.
For all Waterford FC supporters, this year has been wonderful, especially after the difficult years they have had to endure in recent times, but for a man like Alan Reynolds who played for the club, was player/manager of the club and now as coach, it has been a season that he won’t forget for a long long time and now he has his Park Award to cap it off.
“I’m absolutely thrilled. I’m delighted to be here today to pick up this award. I’ve been here before with Daryl Murphy, Kenny Browne and others when they collected their Park Awards so I’m thrilled to get my own Park Award here today. I’m a proud Waterford man and when you look at the people who have won these awards over the years, I’m just delighted to be part of it.”
With the investment of Swindon Town Chairman Lee Power around this time last year the levels of expectation were cranked up on Waterford FC going into the new season to finally get that return to the Premier Division but that didn’t bother Alan and the players.
“Yeah everyone had us down as favourites. It was a new squad with only a few players kept on from last year, so the important thing was team spirit and getting the squad to gel as quickly as possible and that’s what we worked at from the start. The performances weren’t great at the start but the results were and after a while that evened out with the performances getting better and the results remaining good and thankfully we got the job done. I’m delighted for the players but also for the backroom staff who’ve been brilliant. John Frost, Dirk Heinen, the goalkeeping coach, Michael and Tony Sullivan and I could go on and on, they’ve been great and we owe it all to them.”
PROUD WATERFORD MAN
As a Tramore man and a Blue to the core, the exploits of this season must be extra special for Alan. “Without a doubt. As I’ve said already, I’m a proud Waterford man and no matter where I played or coached during my career, Waterford was and always will be my county and it meant so much to me that night in the RSC against Longford Town when we got our hands on the trophy especially to have my family there. I realise that there’s a tough road ahead of us now stepping up to the Premier Division and I know the way it works but we just need people to stick with us and get behind us and see where it takes us.”
In presenting Alan with his award, Pierce Flynn, congratulated him on Waterford FC’s tremendous season and wished them the best of luck in next year’s Premier Division, sentiments that were echoed by adjudicators Kieran and John O’Connor.