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Meet former NWRC student and now Derry City F.C. first team coach Conor Loughrey

20 January 2023
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Today we’re talking to former NWRC Sports student Conor Loughrey.

Conor studied the BTEC Level 3 and Level 4 in Sport, Health & Exercise at North West Regional College and is now the First Team Coach with F.A.I. Cup winners Derry City F.C.

The local man says he learned so much during his time at NWRC – information that he has now taken on to his role working in the Sports Industry.

He also has kind words about his lecturers: Luke McCloskey, Patricia Coyle, Bernie Rutherford and Lynda Hegarty – who all still work at NWRC inspiring the next generation of students.


Conor Loughrey


First Team Coach at Derry City F.C.



Previous Education before NWRC?

I was at St Peter’s High School where I'd completed my GCSEs and stayed on at Lower Sixth where I did the BTEC first Diploma in Sports Performance. The NWRC courses were a natural progression.

Why did you choose NWRC and Sport?

I wasn't certain on what I wanted to do or become. I knew I wanted it to be in football but didn't know what that would be or how to get there. I was made aware of the NWRC courses and never really looked back from there.

What was the course like?

The course has a broad range of modules and as a student it used to frustrate me as with some modules, I used to think why am I doing this, this doesn't apply or relate to me and what I want to do. It's only when I've worked in the industry that I've realised how much those modules would apply to me and how important they've become in my professional development. The courses were also very different to school. That was something that worried me initially because I was a bit immature and not driven by academia. I always felt I was as capable anyone academically but lacked the motivation at that time to produce assignments which reflected that. I was fortunate however that the lecturers I had were much more caring and attentive that what you were initially led to believe. They really got me through my first 2-years with their balance of push and patience.

Are there any tutors/lecturers who particularly inspired you?

I've been so fortunate that the lecturers I had really looked out for us. In year 1, Luke McCloskey and Patricia Coyle were so important to not only me but many of my class at that time, their approach was perfect for our transition from School to College. On the flip of that, there were other lecturers such as Lynda Hegarty operated with such high educational standards that you were always challenged to achieve your best. Throughout my time there, Bernie Rutherford was so caring for every student and balanced that I had so much respect for her, I never wanted to let her down. Bernie asked me to present to her Analysis class last year and the pride she has in past pupils was evident and I took so much from seeing how proud she was of where I am currently.

Would you recommend NWRC?

Absolutely, I don't think I would be where I am today if I didn't make the educational choices I did. I work in an industry where ex-players so often fill roles such as mine. I don't have the playing background many of them have but I've a much broader knowledge of so many other factors relating to my job than many of them because whilst they were playing, I was developing a knowledge and understanding at NWRC.

What would you say to any pondering their post GCSE choices – would you recommend NWRC?

I wouldn't think twice about it, I personally feel I wasted a year at school in Lower Sixth as I achieved nothing there, I couldn't have at the NWRC. I wasn't the highest academic, but I've always done well at subjects that I'm interested in and moving to NWRC allowed me to focus on an area I was both interested in and wanted my future employment to be within.

What’s your plan for the future?

Growing up in the shadows of the Brandywell Stadium, I now work for a football club I love. In the future I would love to help build on the success of this season and deliver even more silverware for Derry and all those who've supported us so brilliantly.

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