THIS week sees the return of pre-season for many football clubs across the city and county.
It doesn’t seem like much of a break since last season finished and that’s exactly how players want it, back on the pitch as soon as possible.
Next season promises to be yet another competitive season in the MSL.
Premier winners Rockmount are back training this week and they will be trying to retain their titles from last season and hope to add more, and as well as adding to their squad, they are busy adding to their coaching panel also.
Paul Dunton is a name known in the soccer circles in both the men and women’s game and next season will see him take on a new challenge as he joins the Whitechurch club in a coaching role.
Here he tells us about his excitement to be joining up with Eddie Kenny and his backroom staff.
“We started back training on Monday night and it was fantastic to be back on the pitch,” said Dunton.
“I spoke to Ethan McCarthy ( Assistant Manager ) at the recent First Division play-off between Castleview against Blarney in Ringmahon Park.
"I told him I missed the buzz of being involved. I missed coaching in a big way. Ethan rang me a couple of weeks later asking if I would be interested in coming on board as a first team coach.
"It was an instant yes. I then met with Eddie Kenny for a cup of coffee. Eddie outlined his coaching philosophy, how he likes his teams to play.
"With all their success from last season, I was highly impressed with Eddie’s desire to build on last season.
"They were incredible but that was last season. The focus is now on this season. How do we build on last years success?
"And I hope to play my part in achieving this.”
The 43 year-old father of two from Macroom has plenty of experience in coaching having been with clubs such as Cork City, UCC, Douglas Hall, Macroom and now he is excited to be with a top club like Rockmount.
“First of all I was drawn to the challenge. I have always been aware of Rockmount as a club.
"The standards they set as a team are always high. The quality of the players past and present has always been exceptional.
"I’m pretty much going right in at the top and I’m looking forward to it. Teams will be well organised now because of the success Rockmount had last year.
"The challenge is to stay there. Play better football, build on last year's success and aim to retain the titles won last year will be our focus.”
Joining an already experienced back room staff, Dunton is still looking to put his own stamp on things.
“I am coming in as a Coach to provide support to Eddie, Ethan and the current staff. Eddie and Ethan provided me with some game footage from last season.
"I took the time to analyse the games, pinpoint things I thought went well, Outlined areas to improve and create session plans to match our thoughts. I love the details and analysis of the game.
"Coming in with a fresh set of eyes and ideas, I believe will support Eddie and Ethan in a big way.
"We have had multiple meetings since. Pre-Season began this week and it was great to get on the grass and work on ideas that were shared.
“I worked with Ethan previously at UCC Women's Soccer. We’ve always stayed in touch and met up to watch games so I’m hugely grateful to Ethan for putting my name forward to Eddie.
"I’m really looking forward to getting to work with some top quality players.”
Busy on and off the pitch the father of two is also working full-time but managing his time well has been key to him continuing to do what he loves.
“My scouting roles with the National team and soon to be officially announced, Celtic Women’s FC will always be done.
"It’s about sitting down, planning out my days efficiently. I work with a life coach, Maria Murphy, of whom taught me to do so.
"I was running and racing everywhere. So my days are now managed down to the hour. Anyone who knows me, knows football is seven days a week, 24/7 for me.
“I currently scout for the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team. I will be officially announced shortly as a scout for Celtic Women’s FC following talks with the Manager Fran Alonso.
"I also lead a scouting group called Pro-Scout3. We have a number of Cork staff involved like Stephen Neiland, Robert Oldham, Kevin O'Brien, Mickey Buckley and Chris Dineen.
"We have clients all over the world, one of which is from New Mexico State.
"We are helping to secure trials with professional clubs and the WNT Management team have been alerted of her Irish links.
"So that’s a huge work in progress.
“So while it’s a hectic time, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I am really looking forward to the season ahead and the challenges it might bring.”