Chris Byrne relishing new role as Casement Celtic boss

Promotion is the aim for the former MSL top-tier defender
Chris Byrne relishing new role as Casement Celtic boss

Chris Byrne with his Casement Celtic team before a match.

GIVING back to your local club is really satisfying and none more so than for Ballyphehane man Christopher Byrne who took on the manager role at Casement Celtic.

The 39-year-old father of two to Joey and Lennon, who originally came from Nuns Walk, took over from Darren Haines and in his first managerial job. He is hoping for promotion having assembled a strong side that compete in the MSL Second Division.

“If we got promoted it would be a good season for us,” said Byrne. "We play in the Second Division MSL and to be fair it’s a very competitive league. We are currently fourth at the moment with three games left and then the league splits so if you finish in the top eight you have a chance of promotion and that’s the aim. 

"We are in with a shout so hopefully something will come of of that, and maybe get a good run in one or two cups would prove a successful season.” 

While the squad was already in place when Byrne arrived, he did manage to add a few experienced players which have proven to make a huge difference.

“The squad has been there before I came in really so I’ll give Darren Haines all that credit but I did add two or three players such as Darren O’Leary who came in and brought huge experience for us, as well as Jason McDonnell who has been a great goalkeeper for us.

“We have a squad of about 22-23 players with a good mix of youth and experience. We have a good few lads who have come through the ranks at the local GAA club the Barrs and they bring a very good attitude to the squad something that you need to have at this level.

“We have some good players in the squad fellas that have been playing for the club for a good few years now the likes of Niall Calnan, Wesley Tong, Micky Mull, and then we have the likes of David Welsh who is familiar with all the divisions at this stage," laughs Byrne. 

"Ian O’Callaghan, Gavin Corcoran and Nathan Holland all great local lads who also bring a lot to the squad." 


Managing for the first time has been challenging but doing it for your local team makes it all worthwhile.

“I was assisting Darren for a year and I was enjoying that because I had stopped playing myself. I work shift work myself so it’s hard at times but when Darren had to step down and Eddie Haines the chairman asked me would I take over. 

"It’s a lot to take on but I’d said I’d give it go and I’ve been enjoying it since. I brought my brother William, Terry White, Ger Long and Brian Higgins in with me, all fellas that have huge experience and I am good friends with and each bring a lot to the team as well so all that helps.

“It’s my first job as a manager and I am enjoying it. it is hard at times but I’m a very competitive person anyway so the lads know what they will get from me, losing is something I don’t like no matter what sport it is so I’ll definitely give it my best shot."

Defender Chris Byrne giving it all for Rockmount in 2014. Picture: Larry Cummins
Defender Chris Byrne giving it all for Rockmount in 2014. Picture: Larry Cummins

Casement have been around a long time featuring some of the best players in Cork. 

"I played with Casement up until I was about 20. It has been a tough few years for the clubs as in we don’t have a schoolboys section coming through and that is massive in any club but hopefully that will all change in the next one to two years. 

"At the moment there are three teams in the club one senior and two junior teams. It should be a lot more but unfortunately that’s just the way it is at the moment but we certainly won’t dwell on it.

There is a good committee within the club and some good work been done behind it all as it’s not easy running a club. 

"It is hard getting sponsors, but I have to say a special thanks to James Long who is a good friend of mine and played with the club for years. 

"He gave us a lot through his own plumbing company and we recently got a new set of gear from James that Shane Knott provided. They are two good lads and doing well so hopefully that continues for them.”

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