Knock’s new general

by Stephen Findlater

CASTLEKNOCK have announced Declan Patton as their new senior football manager to take on the mantle left for him by Lar Norton as they look to build further on a superb 2016.
In just their second year at senior championship level, they reached the county final and were only outdone by a stellar St Vincent’s side that went on to win another Leinster crown.
Norton stepped down in the wake of their season and Patton was soon approached for the role, working with Kevin Stritch and Tom Quinn, following his increased role within the Somerton club in recent years.
Originally from the Robert Emmetts club in Castlefin in Donegal, he has been living in Blanchardstown village since 2003. He initially was not involved with a Dublin club and worked extensively with the legendary Dave Billings at UCD with both the Sigerson Cup and Freshers teams, “training some of the best from the length and breadth of the country”.
He has also cut his teeth on the Dublin club scene with, most recently, St Anne’s and then with St Peregrine’s and he says the quality of people he worked with at both clubs has helped him grow as a manager.
“For the last two years, I had been working with St Anne’s and Nipper McNally for the last two years,” he told GazetteSport. “He is a great calibre of GAA man and has a real knowledge of Dublin football and I am really thankful for that.
“Similarly, I was with Peregrine’s from 2007 to 2010 with the seniors and then again with the juniors in 2012. John Lowndes [father of Dublin star Eric] got me involved there and I was fortunate to work with a man of his calibre, learning an incredible amount.”
During his time with the senior side, the Blakestown club were promoted up to Division 2, won a cup title as well as an Under-21 championship.
For the last few years, his time has been interspersed with gigs in Castleknock. With the Castleknock Under-14 and 15s back in 2013 and 2014, culminating in their Under-15 championship success, working with Brian O’Keeffe and Barry Ryan.
“I have great respect for them as good GAA men and that whetted the appetite and was an enjoyable time. I also have children in the nursery so between the two things, my connection with the club grew closer and closer over the last five years and this was too good an opportunity not to take up.”
And he says the positivity around Castleknock is something to behold, witnessing first-hand how they have risen quickly since formation in 1998. He says that it filters through to the senior team.
“Even looking at the nursery on a Saturday morning, you see the enthusiasm and quality of coaches. It’s not just parents getting involved but, unlike a lot of places, you see a lot of the minors and other young players helping out and putting back into the club from a young age.
“For the senior team, it won’t be about changing a huge amount of things and I will be getting a schooling from Kevin Stritch and Tom Quinn over the next few weeks about the team. They are hugely familiar with the processes of the team and the excellent groundwork done by Lar Norton so I am really excited about getting going.”

Related Articles