Shanahan aiming for second promotion to National League One with OAs

Players celebrate the first try

Players celebrate the first try - Credit: Archant

James Shanahan will be looking to mastermind Old Albanian’s second promotion into National League One when the new season begins in August.

OAs were relegated on Saturday, the final game of the season, despite beating Tynedale 50-29 at Woollams.

Shanahan, who took over as head coach for the final two games of the season – both five points wins, steered the club to Natioanl League One at the end of the 2011/12 season. It was his second promotion to the third tier of English rugby having gone up with Cambridge two seasons earlier.

I’m disappointed because I got OAs into National One and left them when we finished fifth that year,” he said. “I worked hard, the players worked hard, as did Bruce [Millar, director of rugby, to get us into National One so it would have been good to stay and build on that.”

He added: “I’ve gotten out of National Two twice so we’ll do it a third time. I said to the guys before [Saturday’s game] that it wasn’t about this year; it was about building for next season, whether we survived or dropped down. That’s the mindset.”

“We’ve won two from two and scored 101 points, I can’t ask for more than that and credit to the boys for doing it. They’re bitterly disappointed but looking forward to challenge of National Two.”

One of the keys to OA’s bid for an immediate bounce back will be to keep the squad together. With the exception of Andy Berry and the Saracens loan players, Shanahan is confident of keeping the entire squad.

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“The Saracens boys will move on but we’ll have another influx,” he told the Herts Ad. “All the other boys are all keen and committed to stay so we’ll be sorting contracts out over the next couple of weeks.

“I’d be surprised if we lose many; everyone wants to stay and go back up.”