NOW 21 years playing in the MSL, Dave Kiely is still making an impact.
The Avondale defender has recently stepped up as player manager alongside Eoghan Lougheed and Danny Quinlan after the resignation of Frank Kelleher.
A role which is new to Kiely however his experience as a player and his job in HR made him the most obvious candidate to step up while the club find a replacement for Kelleher. Having played all games to date this season, Kiely has already found the role a challenge as he opted to leave himself out in his first game in charge against Douglas Hall.
“In the interim it was left to myself, Eoghan Lougheed, being the longest serving players and Danny Quinlan, Frank's head coach, to manage the situation in the meantime,” said Kiely. "It was not something I thought about for too long, it was just a natural reaction to helping out my club in an hour of need and I am looking forward to getting back to playing.
"I did take myself out of the starting XI for the Douglas Hall game as it does not sit well with me that I could pick myself in a team and leave someone else out. However, I have played all of the games this season up until then, and the form has been ok, so I do not necessarily believe that I should be left out. That's difficult to manage and another reason why I hope a manager is put in place soon.”
Reaching his late 30s and although he still has a lot to offer on the playing field, staying involved in the game after he does decide to hang up his boots is something the former winning intermediate captain is interested in, and coaching would be a preference of his.
“I suppose given my age, it is something that has cropped up in conversations over the last year or two with committee members about the possibility of being a manager/coach at the club, and I think after I stop playing, I will be involved with some team, in some capacity, but when you are a player and are concentrating on the elements needed to be training and playing well it's not really possible to think too much into the future.
"I'm playing a longtime now and have had a number of managers down through the years and I suppose all have had some level of influence on me. Ernest O' Mahony at underage level for Mayfield United was the first person to play me as a defender, so I suppose he would have had some considerable influence over how things have panned out.
"His younger brother Kevin, God rest Him, would have supported me well as a manager also. I learned a lot from Paul Bowdren at Cork City and at senior level I owe a lot to Richie Keating for giving me my MSL debut at 16.
"I have played under various managers for Mayfield Utd who have been very supportive of me, including Bernard O'Neill, Dave Hill, Tim O'Halloran, John Lawlor, who has just returned to the Mayfield job and is one of the best coaches I ever played under, and I think special mention needs to go to Tadgh O'Neill, who has been very supportive as a manager and friend for the last 20 years.
“There is a large debt of gratitude to John Ryan, who first took me to Avondale, which wasn't an obvious thing to do at the time and he put a lot of trust in me which has ultimately led to the best highlights of my playing days. Since then, there has been a trophy under every manager at Avondale, Dave 'the Save' O'Keeffe, Dave Warren, Damien Roddis and Karl Sheppard, and again special mention is due to Ken Bruton who managed us for three years and he entrusted me with the captain's armband which led to an unforgettable Intermediate Cup Win in 2019. Ken still remains a source of support to me and is someone I contact regularly for advice.”
A difficult start to the season but one in which the 37-year-old from Crosshaven believes can be salvaged although losing 13 players to the squad has not helped.
“We are certainly not used to losing too many matches and starting the season so poorly there's no one reason really. We won two of our three Keane Cup games. I think Carrigaline comprehensively beat us in the first league game but in the others we were our own undoing and could have picked up points here and there if we cut out individual errors.
"We have now lost 13 players since the resumption of football and I think any club would find it difficult to cope with that, it's over half of a squad realistically. The remaining players have been exceptional in their attitude, despite results, and their patience while we as a club try to make things right is refreshing. It's disappointing to lose some of the lads we did lose, when the going got tough, but that's life and we move on.
“It's a very strange league and a run of dropped points or gained points can turn the table on its head, but at the moment it's looking like Rockmount and Carrigaline, two good sides who could finish top.
"Personally I think Corinthians are the best team we have faced, so they will probably be disappointed with their points total so far. I think that our results have naturally led us to reevaluate our expectations and we now have to ensure we consolidate our position and hopefully pick up one of the cups on offer.”