THE Doheny GAA Club has appointed Declan O’Dwyer as their new senior football manager for the forthcoming season.
O'Dwyer who previously played senior football with great distinction for his beloved club is delighted to be appointed.
“It is a great achievement and a proud moment for me. It is a great honour to be chosen to lead the senior footballers this season. It is a huge privilege.”
He was involved as a selector with the Dohenys senior football management team last year, priming him for the step-up.
“It is something I have always been interested in. I have been involved in coaching various underage teams in recent years and helping out last year with the senior team whetted my appetite.
"I am constantly reading, doing webinars and listening to podcasts in a bid to gain more coaching knowledge. Coaching was always an avenue I was looking to pursue.”
The 35-year-old has assembled a very strong coaching team as they attempt to guide the Carbery divisional club to a successful season. He will be assisted by Daniel O’Donovan, Paul Deane, Noel O’Donovan and Robbie Ahern.
“We will work as one collective unit. I will be looking for a big input from all the coaches. They will all have their roles to do throughout the year. Daniel O’Donovan and Paul have huge experience and knowledge.
"They were both very good players and they will bring a real passion and enthusiasm to their coaching roles. Daniel has done great work with the underage teams in recent years.
"Robbie Ahern was involved with the Carbery Rangers senior football team who won the county title in 2016. Robbie also has great experience and he will bring a lot to what is a very strong coaching team.
"Noel is brilliant. He is great with the players. We have big aims and targets. We will be starting out this season with the real intention of winning the championship.”
The Dohenys adult footballers are already working away virtually on their strength and conditioning with Alison Hayes, who has designed a very intense programme for the players.
“She is outstanding. She is working away with the players online. It is very hard to prepare at present with no date in sight.
"The players are doing their own individual running and strength programmes. We have been looking to implement a good gym programme in recent years. We are probably behind the curve, but we are making the most of this free time to bulk up.
"There has been great enthusiasm shown by the players. They are trying to keep fit and motivated.”
The Dohenys GAA Club has been hugely affected by emigration in recent years. This was emphasised recently when six former senior players lined out for the Garryowen club in Melbourne.
The Dohenys have missed their guile, experience as well as the physical attributes this talented sextet brought. Dohenys have in recent years fielded a very young team with whom Declan is looking forward to helping fulfil their rich potential.
“It is so tough missing those six lads. Alan Sheehan, Mark Quinn, the Collins twins David and Tom, Jamie Carroll and Kevin O’Connell are all huge losses. They would add hugely to this team.
"We are probably missing that bit of cuteness and experience. We hope to see them back one day playing for us again. The core of our team is very young.
"We had 10 U21 players who lined out for our senior team last year. They are great to work with and they are gaining from the experience of playing so many good championship games.
"The new format is very beneficial. We had three games in six weeks last year which will definitely stand to our players going forward.
O'Dwyer's elevation to the role of manager with the senior footballers is more evidence of the great work going on behind the scenes within the Dunmanway-based club. A number of former players are working hard in a variety of coaching and administrative roles as they seek to bring back the glory days to the famous club.
“The club is going very well. Mark Farr has taken over as chairperson and he will bring great knowledge and energy. We have great facilities in the club.
"The astroturf which was built in recent years has been a great addition.
"The underage section is going well, with good numbers coming through. There is good coaching going on at all levels, while the ladies club has also been a huge addition to the club.
"A lot of the former players are helping out which is great to see. It is nice to give back to the club who have always been good with me.”
O'Dwyer, who works as a garda in Bishopstown, is looking forward to guiding the Dohenys senior footballers into senior A championship action this year when the season commences.
“Any one of the 16 teams will fancy their chances. It is a very competitive and even grade. The new format worked very well last season.
"We are looking forward to the championship draws. We are guaranteed three good games. We will prepare well and hope to hit the ground running.”