HE'S back for a second stint as manager of Ringmahon seniors in the most testing of times.
Kieran O’Reilly’s aim is to get past the disappointment of Covid disrupting a possible league title last season, as well as a place in an FAI Intermediate Cup final, and focus on silverware in the not too distant future.
O’Reilly had an illustrious career himself and his knowledge of the game has proved to be of huge benefit to teams he has coached or manage to date.
Taking over from Aidan 'Basel' Foley, O’Reilly surrounds himself with a great backroom staff of John Naughton, Daithí Shaw, Gavin Crean and Richie St Ledger, who O’Reilly believes will help him get the best out of his squad.
“I have a great bunch of lads working with me all of whom have a huge interest in the development of the squad and club,” said O’Reilly.
“My first time in charge from 2014 for three seasons, we had a fairly successful journey along the way guiding the team from the First Division to the Premier Division and picking up a few cups along the way while also reaching the FAI intermediate cup semi-final. It was myself, Dave Finnegan and Aiden Foley and with the ever-present legend Richard St Ledger during that spell.
“After those three seasons I decided to take a break and Aidan Foley then took over as manager and continued to steer the team in the right direction.”
Although not planned, O’Reilly is now back at the club and as Manager and enjoying that role in which he hopes to steer his side to success when the league eventually resumes.
“Unfortunately due to the Covid affecting everything worldwide, it took its toll on the domestic leagues everywhere across the country. Last season, in my opinion, we would have gone on and won the Premier League title but unfortunately, no one will ever know.
"Covid also had a major impact on the outcome of our FAI Cup semi-final. I know it affected all teams but it just seemed to disrupt us that bit too much and certainly played its part in our loss that day.
“That’s all behind us now and we hope we can get back playing to the standard we were at. Our aim for the season ahead was to try to keep as many of the players from last season and we managed to. Players will move on for lots of different reasons which is natural in football but I felt we got it right in the personal playing department that we kept.
“We added some quality players to our squad this year in the likes of Graham Cummins, Cameron Harlson and Evan Galvan. Players with a lot of experience. Another exceptional player in Cian O’Connor who we did well to sign from Cobh.
"He is a fantastic new signing. We also have some very young exciting players coming through with us in the likes of Charlie Cremin who is getting more physical and powerful for a young player and certainly one for the future. We have another few young boys in Alan Happii and Ewan Lee who like Charlie are also getting better and better every time they train with us and they are defiantly players for the future of Ringmahon or levels above."
“The lockdown is no doubt very challenging for the players and management of all teams not just our own. I personally think the physical side of things will be the easiest thing to deal with for the players during the lockdowns but it will be the mental side of things that will be the hardest thing to deal with.
"With so much uncertainty and no real information given to us managers and players regarding any future plans in returning to football matches, players are no doubt about it fed up having to stop/start with training and with no end goal to aim for you get a feeling there will be some players that won’t return to play due to the constant uncertainty.
“In my own opinion, I feel there should be a decision made by the FAI or the domestic leagues to give information to clubs to either wrap up this season until next season and start fresh again or give a date or month when we will be hoping to return, so all clubs and management and players can plan ahead rather than plodding along in the not knowing.”
Away from all the doom and gloom, it’s been fantastic for the club to see former players do so well across the water.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic for the entire parish to see Caoimhín Kelleher continue to grow into hopefully one of the most exciting young goalkeepers of the future generation.
"I have to say congratulations to Eddie Harrington who was there from the very start transforming Caoimhín from an exciting outfield player to the goalkeeper he now is and also a lot of applause has to go to Jurgen Klopp in trusting in Caoimhín and the youth at Liverpool.
“Another football journey not too far away from Caoimhín in Liverpool is Alan Browne."
His own son Adam O'Reilly has just signed a new three-year deal with Preston North End.
"In Adam’s situation with Preston it’s still a waiting game regarding getting that opportunity to be given first-team game-time this season as it was around this time last season against Aston Villa where he made his first-team debut so hopefully history can repeat itself.”