WITH more than 20 years of experience each with their beloved Glasheen, Derek ‘Mush’ O’Leary and David Swann took on the role as joint-managers two years ago.
However, due to the pandemic, they have yet to finish a season.
“I work in non-essential retail which also shut down so it was hard not meeting up with the lads at work and also not having training on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
“I also missed the game with the elder lemons down the Mardyke on a Wednesday night,” said Swann.
”Sport was important to fill the time but during the pandemic, it did give me more time to support elderly family members, improve my gardening and watch every single match on the TV. Liverpool’s demise isn’t helping me either.”
Glasheen has one of the longest traditions of any soccer club in Cork. Founded in 1926, the club's first trophies were the Munster Minor League and Cup double in the 1930/31 season.
They won the league again in 1949 the team was captained by John Moloney and also included John Coughlan, two players who went on to become League of Ireland greats.
The club’s glory period was between 1952 and 1966 when they contested six FAI youth cup finals, winning three.
For three seasons they won every trophy open to them, without losing a game, and their schoolboy team won every honour in local football.
Other major honours were the Munster Senior League, Munster Junior Cup, the AOH Cup, and they had players capped at all age groups from senior down to schoolboys including John Herrick at senior, Dannux Forbes and Bunny Higgins at junior and Tony Kenneally at amateur level.
The club also produced many players who went on to play League of Ireland too many to mention all but a few were Miah Neville, Liam O’Neill, Jerry O’Riordan, John Coughlan, Willie, John and Ollie Moloney, Patsy Dothan, Donie Wallace, George and John Clifford, Donal O’Leary, Bootsie Lynch, Liam and Christy O’Flynn.”
O’Leary is enjoying his role as manager while also serving as a key player for the second team.
“It’s been a difficult period for everyone without sport in their lives," said O’Leary. “But hopefully we’ll be back sooner than later.”
Currently competing in the Munster Junior League Second Division, O’Leary’s aim is to help the club get back playing at senior level and he is confident with the dedicated players and volunteers involved at the club, that they can get back their senior status in time.
“I am currently joint-manager with Dave Swann and although this is our second season together unfortunately we have yet to finish a season. Danny Murray runs our other junior team, which I also play for. Swanny and Danny have great experience as ex-players of Glasheen at a high level, they have massive knowledge of the game which they give back at every opportunity.
“As a Glasheen player myself and also a competitive runner, I have a vast knowledge of training methods and fitness and I believe my enthusiasm is infectious and drives everyone on at the club.
“We were mid-table before Covid kicked in, training was going very well and morale was very good, and our expectations were to climb the table and finish strongly. We are in the Munster Junior League Second Division.
“We have a large squad, a great bunch of lads with a good attitude to training but hoping to add and improve. Anthony Dorney who came back to the club after a long absence was a great asset, instantly being installed as captain, and we have a good mixture of youth and experience with young Declan O’Flaherty constantly improving at centre-half.
“Local lad and elder lemon Stephen Duffy is still a driving force through the middle of the park.
“We have vastly improved each year since taking over so we expect to continue that improvement with a view to getting back our senior status in the near future.
Recently we have suffered without any schoolboy set-up and have lost our senior status but we hope to rebuild and get senior and schoolboy football back again for our centenary in 2026.
“The Murray family have been a big driving force in the club’s recent history which is still the case today, many others have contributed greatly but too many to mention.
“We have a small group of volunteers which makes each and every one vitally important. Bernard Lenihan and Barry Neiland look after the dressing rooms, putting up the nets and the first aid.
“Long-serving John Murray is the club chairman and also looks after the pitch. Eddie Hegarty and Owen Condon share all secretarial and admin duties while Eddie also still plays for the club. As well as managing and playing I am also club treasurer.
“So basically, we are a tight-knit hardworking group.”
Swann is eager to get back coaching but he also stresses the importance of football for not just players, but for all those involved.
“Sport has a vital part to play in all our lives and at all levels. Whether you are a player, coach, referee, committee member or a spectator, sport can have a big role to play in our physical and mental health.
“I have found myself filling the gap created by the pandemic by watching football, golf, snooker which makes sport important, even from your living room. I even nearly watched cricket,” laughs Swann.
“I always felt what was a lot more important than the medals you won was the friends you made through sport and that seems more evident now more than ever as we all certainly miss that social interaction and I’m sure many are looking forward to the return of some normality in our lives.
“I look forward to getting back on the pitch with this great club in the hope of helping us to reach senior status once again.”