Lilywhites add former Premier League duo Rowlands and Connolly

Rhyl FC have continued to strengthen their playing squad as they look to return to the Welsh Premier with the signings of Tom Rowlands and Mark Connolly.

Both have already played for the Lilywhites before and it is a welcome reunion for the pair at the Belle Vue Stadium.

Rowlands re-joins the Lilywhites following a spell at Runcorn Town where he made 17 appearances for the NWCFL Premier Division side, scoring 3 times as the Town finished 3rd in the table behind Bootle and Atherton Collieries.

He first joined the Lilywhites in 2011 from Newtown and was a large part in the Lilywhites winning the Huws Gray Cup in 2012 and gaining promotion back to the Welsh Premier League a year later.

The central-midfielder found his chances limited in the top flight due to a recurring knee injury and the good form of players in his attacking midfield position. He was eventually loaned out to Conwy Borough in 2015 before joining Runcorn Town in 2016.

Rowlands has already featured for Rhyl in pre-season, with promising displays against City of Liverpool and Liverpool U23s.

Connolly signs for the Lilywhites after his release from Welsh Cup winners Bala Town, the midfielder having made a surprise appearance on the teamsheet for the Cymru Alliance side’s friendly against Liverpool U23s.

The attacking midfielder re-joins the club almost seven years after making the difficult decision to leave the club during the club’s financial woes which saw them relegated from the Welsh Premier League.

He first joined the club from rivals Bangor City in 2005 and made his European debut in the 2-1 defeat to Viking FK in the UEFA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round. Between Rhyl and Bala, the versatile midfielder has made 13 European appearances, scoring 3 times.

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Over the years the Welsh Cup winner has proven to be the ultimate utility man, starting the 2006 Welsh Cup Final win over Bangor at right back, and playing in every single outfield position for the Lilywhites in their 2008/09 title winning campaign, providing a bedrock for the Lilywhites winning their second ever Welsh Premier League title, and the first since the quadruple winning season of 2003/04.

Connolly made a total of 145 Welsh Premier League appearances for Rhyl in his 5 seasons in his first spell at the club, scoring 31 goals.

Both played in Rhyl’s pre-season friendly with West Bromwich Albion’s U23 side this afternoon, both in an official capacity.

(Featured Image: Rhyl FC)

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