Niall McGuinness should be judged on the many great things he achieved at Flint – not just the sad ending

Niall McGuinness’ time at Flint ended on a sad note, but there were many good things achieved in his three years in charge. Niall is pictured right.

Niall McGuinness was in charge of Flint Town United for three years and in that time the club produced some of their best achievements in many a season.

In his first campaign at the helm, the Silkmen won the Cymru Alliance League Cup.

The following two seasons saw Flint secure back-to-back runners-up spots in the Cymru Alliance, the latter clinching them a return to the Cymru Premier for the first time in 22 years.

McGuinness also guided the Silkmen to the Welsh Cup quarter-finals in 2019-20, knocking out Welsh Premier side Bala Town 2-0 at the Essity Stadium along the way.

This tremendous result came the season after suffering two heavy losses to the Lakesiders in cup competitions.

Despite winning two of his first three matches in charge of Flint in the Cymru Premier this term, just one victory in their next 11 outings led to the departure of the popular 29-year-old on Saturday.

Niall was one of the youngest managers in Europe aged just 24 when he took over at former Welsh Premier side Rhyl from Gareth Owen in February 2016.

Although the Lilywhites finished in the bottom two at the end of 2015-16, they escaped the drop after 10th place Port Talbot Town were relegated for failing to secure a domestic licence, basement boys Haverfordwest County joining them.

However, there was no escape the following season when Rhyl were relegated. McGuinness left the club after a poor start to the 2017-18 season, but was soon back in business as manager of Flint Town United.

Over his three years in charge at the Essity Stadium, McGuinness and his management team of Aden Shannon and Johnny Hill built a formidable side which won the Huws Gray Cup and twice finished second in the Cymru Alliance.

It was always going to be a tough first season back in the Cymru Premier for the Silkmen competing against clubs with much larger squads and budgets.

Flint produced some good performances, and it is fair to say they did not always get the rub of the green. The league table does not lie, however, and the club looked set for a long battle against relegation lying 11th of 12.

Nonetheless, Niall got the Silkmen back in the top flight and brought them other success along the way.

His overall stats make impressive reading and were only tarnished by this season’s Cymru Premier difficulties.

He remains a talented young manager whose best days in football could be yet to come.

Niall McGuinness – Flint Town United timeline

Nov 20, 2017: Niall McGuinness joins Flint Town United as manager
Nov 25, 2017: Niall’s first game in charge ends in a 2-1 defeat at Gresford Athletic. It was a fifth straight league loss for the Silkmen.
Dec 2, 2017: A first win for Flint under Niall’s leadership. The Silkmen triumph 1-0 at Buckley Town in the Welsh Cup thanks to Alan Bull’s 74th minute goal.
Dec 26, 2017: Not the ideal Christmas present as Flint are beaten again in the league – 3-0 at home by local rivals Holywell Town
Jan 6, 2018: Fine start to the year as Niall celebrates his first league win as Flint boss – a 4-0 whipping of FC Queen’s Park at Cae-y-Castell.
Jan 27, 2018: Heartbreak as Flint crash out of the Welsh Cup on penalties after pushing Cymru Premier side Newtown all the way.
Apr 21, 2018: Flint reach the Cymru Alliance League Cup final for a third successive season after beating Holyhead Hotspur 3-0 in the semis.
May 5, 2018: Glory for McGuinness as Flint defeat Gresford Athletic 8-7 on penalties in the League Cup final. The game itself ends 1-1 after extra time with Flint having been reduced to 10 men. The Silkmen ended the season with an eight-match unbeaten run.

Aug 11, 2018: Great start to 2018-19 season as Flint thrash Holyhead Hotspur 5-2 at Cae-y-Castell
Aug 28, 2018: Niall celebrates a fine 3-2 win over Holywell Town in the Nathaniel MG Cup. Ben Burrows nabs an extra time winner for 10-man Flint.
Sep 25, 2018: Sweet result for Flint as they take the honours 2-0 at Rhyl, the club which parted company with Niall the previous season. Mark Cadwallader’s double bags the points.
Dec 15, 2018: Cadwallader is the hero again, finding the net as Flint end Airbus’ 100% record in the Cymru Alliance with a 1-0 success at Cae-y-Castell.
Feb 16, 2019: Flint Town United 2 Rhyl 0 – Silkmen complete a league double over the Lilywhites.
Apr 20, 2019: Flint clinch runners-up in the Cymru Alliance with a 2-1 home win against Prestatyn Town, also making it a league double versus the Seasiders.

Flint’s Welsh Cup beating of Bala was outstanding. Picture: Flint Town United FC

Aug 10, 2019: Flint off to a flyer with a 5-1 whipping of Porthmadog in the Nathaniel MG Cup
Aug 17, 2019: First match in the newly-named Cymru North for Flint ends in a 2-1 home defeat versus Rhyl.
Aug 23, 2019: The Silkmen bounce back with a 1-0 league win at Colwyn Bay, returning to the Welsh pyramid after a 35-year absence.
Aug 27, 2019: Flint outscore Conwy Borough 5-3 at home, then follow up with league victories over Buckley Town (3-0), Porthmadog (3-1), Llangefni Town (7-0) and draw 1-1 with Bangor City before knocking Welsh Premier Airbus out of the Nathaniel MG Cup, 2-1 at the Essity Stadium.
Oct 5, 2019: An eight-match unbeaten run for Flint is halted when they go down 3-2 at home to title rivals Prestatyn Town.
Oct 19, 2019: Flint hammer Four Crosses 9-0 in the Welsh Cup
Oct 29, 2019: Niall McGuinness’ men exit the Nathaniel MG Cup at the quarter-final stage, losing out 4-1 at Connah’s Quay Nomads.
Nov 29, 2019: Ten-man Flint cut the gap on Cymru Alliance leaders Prestatyn to two points with a 1-0 revenge triumph at Rhyl.
Dec 7, 2019: Flint’s best result under Niall McGuinness? The Silkmen knock Welsh Premier Bala Town out of the Welsh Cup 2-0 at the Essity, Callum Bratley and Andy Brown with the goals.
Jan 24, 2020: A 3-2 home win over Colwyn Bay takes Flint into the quarter-finals of the Welsh Cup.
Feb 22, 2020: Back-to-back 1-0 defeats to Prestatyn, in the league and Welsh Cup last eight, damage Flint’s chances of silverware.
Mar 7, 2020: Flint’s final match before Covid-19 ends the season early. Niall’s lads defeat Llanrhaeadr YM 2-1 at home.
Jun 16, 2020: Despite finishing runners-up in the Cymru Alliance, Flint’s promotion to the Welsh Premier is confirmed after tier-two champions Prestatyn Town fail to gain the necessary licence. Niall McGuinness becomes the first manager to lead Flint into the top flight of Welsh football since 1998.

Sep 12, 2020: Flint’s first match in the Cymru Premier for 22 years is a happy occasion as they defeat Newtown 1-0 at home. New signing Nathan Craig, one of a number of quality captures brought to the club over the summer, scores the only goal.
Sep 23, 2020: Flint proved they can win away too – a 2-1 success at Cefn Druids makes it two victories in three starts.
Oct 2, 2020: A painful memory for Niall is evoked as Flint crash 10-0 at The New Saints. Niall was in charge when Rhyl lost by the same score at TNS when he was boss at Belle Vue back in 2016-17.
Nov 21, 2020: A run of seven straight league defeats comes to an end when Flint record a brilliant 3-0 win at Haverfordwest.
Dec 5, 2020: After a 6-3 defeat at Barry Town United, Flint lie next-to-bottom with stats of three wins and 11 losses.
Dec 6, 2020: It is announced that Niall McGuinness is no longer manager of Flint Town United.

Flint Town United stats under Niall McGuinness

2017-18
League: Played 16 Won 6 Drawn 4 Lost 6 Goals For 27 Goals Against 22 Final position 11th
Cups: Played 5 Won 4 Lost 1 Goals For 8 Goals Against 3

2018-19
League: Played 30 Won 17 Drawn 7 Lost 6 Goals For 52 Goals Against 31 Final position 2nd
Cup: Played 7 Won 3 Lost 4 Goals For 11 Goals Against 19

2019-20
League: Played 24 Won 16 Drawn 4 Lost 4 Goals For 61 Goals Against 24. Final position 2nd (promoted to Cymru Premier)
Cups: Played 8 Won 6 Lost 2 Goals For 25 Goals Against 10

2020-21
League: Played 14 Won 3 Lost 11 Goals For 15 Goals Against 35

League games played: 84
League wins: 42
League draws: 15
League defeats: 27
Goals scored: 155
Goals against: 113

Cup games played: 20
Cup games won: 13
Cup games lost: 7
Goals scored: 44
Goals against: 32

Total stats (all competitive games)
Played 104
Won 55
Drawn 15
Lost 34
Goals scored 199
Goals against 145

Achievements
Cymru Alliance League Cup winners 2017-18
Cymru Alliance League runners-up 2018-19; 2019-20
Promoted to Cymru Premier League 2020-21
Welsh Cup quarter-finalists 2019-20

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