Carrigaline's John O'Kelly is a busy man on and off the pitch with family, work and coaching

Last weekend the 49 year-old was part of the coaching staff with Carrigaline U16 boys who advanced to the National cup final. 
Carrigaline's John O'Kelly is a busy man on and off the pitch with family, work and coaching

John O’Kelly, pictured with his son Sean after last weekend's National cup semi final win over St Kevin’s Boys

JUGGLING work, family life and sport is not always easy but when you find the correct balance and get so much joy from each, it makes life easier.

John O’Kelly from Carrigaline has a hectic life but the father of four wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Between work and sport with the kids life is pretty hectic but I absolutely love it,” said O’Kelly.

Last weekend the 49 year-old was part of the coaching staff with Carrigaline U16 boys who advanced to the National cup final. 

O’Kelly has been coaching for over 15 years and he now looks forward to his first National cup final.

“Last weekend's 2-1 win over St Kevin’s Boys was a great occasion. 

"We were losing 1-0 at half-time, but we knew we were well in the game, so we weren't panicking too much. 

"Our lads were fantastic, first to every ball, we never let them play. I think they were shocked to be honest about how good we were. 

"We now await Home Farm in the final and hopefully we can get to play in Turner's Cross.

“Enroute to the final we had some very competitive games. 

"Getting out of Cork we played a very strong College Corinthians side away, winning 4-2 on penalties after finishing 4-4 at full time. 

"The next round of 32 was away to Cabinteely winning 3-2 which was a very entertaining match from both sides. 

"Last 16 was a home draw against Douglas Hall winning 2-0. Quarter finals were at home to Bridge Utd from Clare winning 4-1.” 

O’Kelly got onboard with the team this season when approached by manager Eoghan Maguire. 

His son Sean is a crucial player for the team so this will add to the occasion for the O’Kelly family.

St. Kevin's Boy's Fuhad Kareem breaks from Carrigaline United's Sean O'Kelly during the under 16 National cup at Ballea park. Picture; Eddie O'Hare
St. Kevin's Boy's Fuhad Kareem breaks from Carrigaline United's Sean O'Kelly during the under 16 National cup at Ballea park. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

“We’re all very much involved in football. Firstly credit to my wife Joy who puts up with me out training almost every night of the week. 

"I have three daughters who all play also.

“This is my first time coaching my son, and l'm really enjoying it. 

"He has played very well in the national cup games and would be solid out in the number six role. 

"Sean loves having me there and he'd tell you straight up if he didn't. Sean is known for his strong challenges where I would always say Roy Keane would be proud of that, something l think is missing in the game.

“This is my first year involved with the squad.

"The Manager Eoghan has been with this team for the last few years and won the Premier U15 League last year. 

"He is a brilliant coach with vast knowledge of the game, and I jumped at the chance of getting involved, I was the final part of the jigsaw. 

"Derek McCarthy, Jack Boyle, and Ronan Connolly are also involved. To date if we win our four games in hand, we will finish second in the league to Ringmahon​ Rangers who won the League today. 

"Hats off to them they have been very strong this season, a team that play ball, press high, can switch it on when needed and have some fantastic players. 

"We lost four players to the League of Ireland but the lads that came in from our Hibs team filled their boots and also lads that travel up from West Cork every weekend and training twice a week show a massive commitment, and to their parents that drive them up. 

"We have six lads involved in the Cork school boys team which is super for the club, my son Sean isn't on it but you never know what will happen with different coaches, you must keep trying and never give up. 

"As a team we are still involved in local Cups, so fingers crossed we can have a great season.” 

If one team wasn’t enough for O’Kelly, he thought he d take on the role as Gaynor Girls U14 Manager. 

St. Kevin's Boy's Harry Bryce heads clear from Carrigaline United's Dion Davison during the under 16 National cup at Ballea park. Picture; Eddie O'Hare
St. Kevin's Boy's Harry Bryce heads clear from Carrigaline United's Dion Davison during the under 16 National cup at Ballea park. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

Developing players and watching them grow in personality is what O’Kelly thrives on and this extra role will keep him busy right throughout the summer.

“This year l'm managing the U14 Cork Gaynor squad, and l can't wait to get started. 

"I have three daughters so I was always involved in the girls game. We train every Monday night. The girls are fantastic, a brilliant bunch. 

"The standard in girls soccer is gone very high. As a coach l hope l can help them with their development as a player and person. 

"A lot of them will go on to play National league in a few years and hopefully Ireland. Eabha my daughter is the goalkeeper of the Gaynor squad, she's also with the Centre of Excellence and attends the Irish Goalkeeping Academy in Dublin."

The former Mayfield and Rockmount player is hoping to coach at a high level and is currently awaiting to begin his UEFA B Licence but in the mean time, his focus will be on the National cup final at the end of May, before preparations turn to the women’s game where he will manage his first Gaynor cup squad.

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