ST Mary’s club man Daniel Cronin is looking forward to getting started as a coach with the Cork minor footballers this year.
The coaching enthusiast has built up a very strong coaching CV in recent years and he was thrilled to be appointed to this new role.
“I am delighted. It was brilliant to be asked to get involved. It probably hasn't fully hit home the opportunity that I have been afforded, seeing as we haven't been able to properly get out onto the pitch yet. As soon as we can get things going the focus will be on getting everything to the best standard we can,” he said.
The Cork minor footballers will be managed by Ballincollig club man Michael O’Brien this year. He will be assisted by a very strong coaching team that includes Martin O’Brien, Gary Sheehan and Donncha O’Connor.
“I am looking forward to working with the management team. It's a huge opportunity for me to develop and challenge my coaching further.
"All the mentors come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. To have the opportunity to mix it up with this calibre of the coaches is an exciting prospect.
“Gary, Donncha and I would have been involved together the last two years with the same development squad age group. Martin O’Brien would have joined us at U16 level.
"It is great having that relationship built up already and it will allow us to build a good routine once we hit the pitch. I would have known about Michael through his involvement with Ballincollig. We are all very similar in our principles and approach to dealing with these young players.”
The young coach is looking forward to working with the players again on the field in the near future as he aims to harness the rich potential this year’s panel possesses.
"I would be conscious however if the U17 competition is rushed. So many players have had opportunities to develop as players cut short since March 2020, that if we are given a short window to get a team out to play, our ability to develop young Cork footballers and young adults will be that bit more challenging.
"U17 has to be about development. I hope we are afforded the time and opportunity to give young players around the county their chance.”
Cronin has been involved in coaching the Rebel Óg development squads for the last seven years. He initially took up coaching at the age of 18 and he instantly loved it.
“I started off coaching locally and loved it. In recent times I have been involved at adult level with clubs such as Courcey Rovers. It is great to get out and experience different structures.
"It is all part of the learning process. I think there is great reward working with so many players around the county.
It brings me great pride when I see and meet players that were involved with us throughout the years playing and performing with their club adult teams.
"That's the real reward for me and how maybe, just maybe we contributed to his development in some shape or form.”
Having turned 30 last year, he admits he often gets inside information from his sister Orla, who is regarded as one of the best camogie players in the country.
“I'd often quiz Orla on the senior camogie set up with regards to how they do things. It's nice to be able to see what levels a senior inter-county player is working at in terms of diet, individual practice and preparation.
"It also gives a good insight to their own individual quest for perfection.”
The St Mary’s club man loves being able to help out within his beloved club both from an administrative and coaching perspective.
“I played with St Mary’s until such a time I was diagnosed with End of Stage Kidney Disease. I have maintained my involvement at club level through administrative positions in the past and coaching roles from underage all the way through to adult level.
"This year will be my third year involved with the junior footballers. It's always great to keep the link there.”
The new Cork minor coach is very enthusiastic with regards the future of Cork football. He believes the strong structures established in recent years will reap their rewards.
“I think since the appointment of Conor Counihan and Aidan O’Connell, the pathways are now a lot clearer from underage all the way to adult level. There are a lot of great people in the background doing great things to help cultivate a positive culture.
"There is a clear vision and massive effort being put together to improve opportunities for a high number of players. There are huge opportunities for coaches to develop which will help improve standards.
"Everyone feels valued and part of something bigger than themselves. I have no doubt players and Cork football will only benefit in the long run. We just need to be patient.”