CARBERY RANGERS club man Denis McSweeney is relishing his role with the Cork U20 footballers this season.
The reigning All-Ireland champions got their season off to a successful start recently when they captured the John Kerins Cup.
Denis joined their backroom team this year. He was thrilled with their recent win against Kildare.
“It was lovely to win the John Kerins Development Football League. “Winning is always a good habit. It was very poignant and special that Mrs Ann Kerins presented the trophy to Blake Murphy.
“Her presence was very significant,” declared the Carbery Rangers coach.
Immediate attention for the Cork U20 footballers now turns to the start of the Munster championship campaign.
Denis is thrilled with the potential of this year’s panel.
“Our success in the John Kerins tournament has been parked and full focus will be on the Munster championship semi-final on Wednesday, February 26th.
“It’s a very talented team again this year. Keith and the management team have gathered a fine panel of excellent footballers who are working very hard.
“There is a great team spirit and togetherness with the group. It’s lovely to see so many different Cork clubs represented on the panel.”
This year represents the first year the Millstreet native has worked behind the scenes with the Cork U20 football panel.
Denis is enjoying his role thus far.
“It’s a privilege to be working under Keith Ricken. He is a very inspirational person and focuses not alone on developing the lads as footballers, but also as people.
“I have learnt so much from him. His management team is made up of very experienced people who bring significant skill sets to the table.
“Everyone knows what they have to do. We work very hard and collectively no stone is left unturned.”
The success the Cork U20 footballers enjoyed last season suggests Cork football is on the right path.
The Rebels produced a number of brilliant displays which propelled them to All-Ireland glory.
A number of last year’s panel have already progressed to the Cork senior panel.
The players who are eligible to play once again this year for the Cork U20 footballers are displaying great leadership revealed Denis.
“Last year’s success was inspiring for everyone. I will never ever forget the All-Ireland final in Portlaoise.
“I was in the main stand and to witness the standing ovation as the team went off at half-time will live with me forever.
“The players who won last year and who are still in the squad are setting a fine example.
“It’s lovely to have members of the All-Ireland winning minors coming through as well. It’s a very exciting time for Cork football.”
Carbery Rangers possess three members of this year’s Cork U20 football panel.
Denis is joined by Maurice Moore, who will once again coach the players while Daragh Hayes is an exciting young forward.
“It’s a great honour for Carbery Rangers to have three club members involved. Maurice Moore is a fantastic coach and brings huge variety and flair to proceedings at each training session.
“I am very pleased that Daragh Hayes is involved. He is a wonderful prospect He works very hard.
“Daragh stood out throughout the underage ranks with Carbery Rangers and we are not surprised that Cork came knocking on his door.”
Denis has a vital role behind the scenes in the Cork U20 football camp. He is in charge of the on-field logistics on match days and at training session.
“A huge amount of equipment follows an inter-county team and everything has to be ready at exactly the right time.
“I distribute water and encouragement to the team at training and on match days during games. I help Maurice Moore set up his drills and amend them during the course of a session.
“I am encouraged to communicate with the young players as much as possible and to bring my inherent positive spirit to all on field proceedings.
“If a management team have no one on logistics, sessions can become very unstructured and disjointed.
“They can in turn be distracted from the respective roles they specialise in.”
Denis has been involved with the Carbery Rangers senior footballers since 2016. He was a key member of their coaching staff who helped Carbery Rangers capture the senior football championship title that season.
"Maurice Moore informed me that the Cork U20 team management team were looking for me and would I be interested?
“I always dreamt of being involved with an inter-county team. Coming from Millstreet and being so near the Kerry border made my passion for Cork very strong.
“It’s a great honour. My family were the first I consulted and they immediately gave me the thumbs up.
“My wife Eileen is very supportive and understanding. Getting the thumbs up from Carbery Rangers was also crucial.
“The fact that the U20 championship was going to be held in the spring was ideal as I can give Carbery Rangers my full attention for the summer.”