Donegal's Celtic legend Paul 'Maxi' McVeigh praises promoted Warrenpoint Town
Donegal Celtic icon Paul ‘Maxi’ McVeigh has paid tribute to Warrenpoint Town in his last ever appearance for the Suffolk Road club.
The 36-year-old has retired from the game due to health issues after scoring in the second relegation play-off game between the two clubs last weekend.
DC won the second leg at Suffolk Park on Friday night but the teams were tied at 2-2 on aggregate and the West Belfast club was relegated on the away goals rule.
McVeigh, one of the most loyal and lethal strikers in the local game over the last ten years, was quick to pay tribute to the newcomers to the IFA Premiership.
“They’re a very well organised team, it was a fair result and if they can add one or two new faces they’ll do well in the top flight nest season,” said McVeigh.
“I went into their changing room after the game and said ‘fair play, and good luck’ to their players and management.
“A lot of people might think they’ll go straight back down next year but I don’t, they’ll do alright.
“As for DC? Who knows what the future will bring, I think the club needs to let the dust settle, but what I will say is that without Packie McAllister at the helm the club would have been relegated long before it happened.
“We’ve had our differences but I can’t speak highly enough of him, his training and the level of professionalism he brought to the club.
“He got me to play on last weekend and I was happy to score, but it wasn’t enough and we can have no complaints.”
Meanwhile, McAllister has confirmed that the club will move forward with plans for the future and he will remain as manager of the proud West Belfast club.
“First of all, I’d like to echo what Maxi said about Warrenpoint,” said McAllister. “I spoke to them after the game to tell them they deserved it over the two games and good luck to them next season.
“And I’d like to pay tribute to Maxi as well after his last game, there’s no doubt in my mind that he is the best player ever to play for this club and he will be missed.
“He can be a handful to manage but I consider myself privileged to have managed and played alongside him and I tried to get him to Coleraine when I was there.
“But his loyalty to this club is unparalleled. He could have signed for many of the top clubs in the country but he stayed with DC throughout, and I’d like to pay tribute to him.
“To me, he’s one of the best strikers we have seen in our game in recent years but maybe didn’t get the same recognition as top strikers at other clubs.
“That’s down to the type of person he is, loyalty is a rare thing in the game these days and all credit to him for staying at the club that is close to his heart.
“As for the future? We move forward and look to the challenge of winning promotion back to the Premiership next season, which won’t be easy.
“Getting relegated was tough to take, and for me personally the aftermath proved to be the worst two or three days of my footballing life.
“But, I’m older and wiser than I was, and after those few days I realised it wasn’t the end of the world. It still hurts, but you have to learn to accept these setbacks in life.
“The club held a meeting on Thursday night and we decided to move forward together, with plans for a new 3G pitch and with me as manager.
“I’m glad, because I didn’t want to walk away. I want to meet the next challenge head on.
“There will be changes, and there will be cuts. Some players will have to move on because that is the price of failure.
“The Championship has some top sides in it and getting back up won’t be easy, but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”