Hart of the community

by Karl Graham

HARTSTOWN Huntstown FC have appointed Damien Dunne as the new manager of their LSL Senior Sunday 1B side as the ambitious club from Dublin 15 look to take the next step forward in their development.
“We’ve looked to bring in a bit of experience to help us grow through the intermediate ranks,” co-founder David Byrne told GazetteSport. “We went through a bit of a recruitment process and identified Damien, given his previous experience with Beggsboro and Dingle, as someone ideal to bring the club on.
“It was very hard to get someone who was with a typically well-known club like Beggsboro but the balance between what the club’s values are and what his values as a coach are was a big factor.
“Also, he wanted a fresh challenge and, although we play in the division under Beggsboro, he liked the facility, the club’s ambition, and what we do at grassroots level.”
The club have been successful since making the move from the AUL three years ago but after an eighth place finish last season, the management team felt they had taken the team as far as they could.
“Tommy McGuirk and Darren McGrath did a very good job, taking us from the early divisions of the AUL up to Premier B before we made the move to the Leinster Senior League, where we won promotion two seasons in a row.
“However, the lads felt they couldn’t bring it on much further. Both guys are still involved with the club, coaching in different roles so we are delighted that they stayed with us,” said Byrne.
Dunne’s appointment is just one part of a grand plan by Byrne and his colleagues to grow the club substantially by engraining itself in the community and offering everybody the chance to play.
The club are also investing a huge amount of time, energy and resources into the coaching structure, with ex-League of Ireland duo John Byrne and Dermot O’Neill brought in to help facilitate their growth.
“We’ve made the transition and our Under-8s through to Under-12s all play in the DDSL now and the Under-13s to Under-17s play in the NDSL.
“We made that strategic decision to ensure that we get a balance of teams competing and teams participating.
“There is also a massive change in the facility at the minute, with the work Fingal County Council has done to bring main water and sewage into Hartstown park meaning we can upgrade our facilities.
“We have installed picnic benches to make it more inclusive and with the toilets and showers being put into the club it allows our Football For All team to come up and use the facility in Hartstown Park rather than off site, so that is big news for us which we are delighted with.
“While the senior appointment is great, the ambition and the plans behind the scenes with the other 21 teams is starting to bear fruit now and we are delighted with the progress, so anyone wishing to get involved is always welcome to contact me.”

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