Shanners takes over at OAs following Holloway’s exit

Old Albanian head coach Andy Holloway

Old Albanian head coach Andy Holloway - Credit: Archant

James Shanahan has been named as Old Albanian’s new head coach following the departure of Andy Holloway.

As reported in the Herts Ad last week, the former player and coach was brought back to the club in an advisory role following his dismissal from Championship side Plymouth Albion after two years at the helm.

He was promoted to head coach following Holloway’s exit ahead of Saturday’s trip to Darlington Mowden Park, which OAs won 51-19 to stay in the hunt for survival in National League One - see inside for match report and reaction.

Shanahan admitted he had mixed emotions at being back at the club where he is revered for masterminding their climb into the third tier of English rugby union.

“I love the club and had a great time here,” he said. “I have got a lot of time for the players, the committee and everyone involved in the club, but I was in the Championship and that’s where I would have liked to stay. But this is a great place to be.”

He has a simple task on his hands heading into OA’s final game of the season against Tynedale at Woollams on Saturday: keep the club in the National League One.

“At the end of the day, we need to get to a bonus point win and hope Cinderford lose,” he said.

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“We’ll focus on what we can control. If we stay in National One, brilliant; and we’ll aim to be competitive next season and get back into the top six – back where we were when I left.

“If not, we’ll bounce back with this squad. It’s a tough league but we’ve done it before. I’m looking at it as being a positive year, regardless of which league we’re in.”