Paul Doolin has returned to the League of Ireland after over a decade away, landing the vacant managerial job at Athlone Town.

Doolin managed UCD, Cork City and Drogheda United, winning a league and FAI Cup with the Boynesiders.

He spent six years as the Republic of Ireland Under-19 manager until 2016.

The 58-year-old has been largely out of work in football since his job with the FAI, revealing he had applied for two SSE Airtricity League jobs but did not receive a response.

Two years ago he told the RTÉ Soccer Podcast that he was not giving up hope.

He said at the time: "I thought that was a lack of respect for someone that was involved for 36 years. One was Shamrock Rovers and Galway and I said to myself, 'I think they are telling you a message'. That's fine.

"I don't have a problem. The thing for me is people try to say 'you are finished and it's all about young managers'. Well it isn't. If you look at young managers, some of them are struggling, to be fair, within the league.

"Clubs can do what they want. They don't have to give you a job. I'd like to be involved in football. I'm qualified, which is another thing. You have to do your courses every few years and you're told if you don't do it then you can't apply.

"And then they go off and give jobs to [people without the Pro Licence]. I have no problem with any coach but the rules are there or they aren't. I'm still hopeful it might come."

The chance has arrived with Athlone eight points off UCD in the final play-off spot in the First Division.

Adrian Carberry left the position yesterday after failing to ignite a promotion challenge despite increased spending this year.

Athlone said in a statement: "The board of management of Athlone Town AFC is delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Doolin as our new men's senior team manager.

"Paul needs little or no introduction to the vast majority of Irish football fans.

"He has a proven track record in management in the League of Ireland and with Irish underage teams.

"Paul's appointment as ATAFC's manager was confirmed following a meeting between the parties late on Tuesday evening.

"Everyone associated with the club wishes him the best of luck."