SITTING in the lobby of the Castleknock Hotel, just across the road from Castleknock GAA’s Somerton Park home, former Louth coach Colm Nally cuts the figure of a passionate football man.
The newly appointed senior football manager takes over the reins at a club which has enjoyed a meteoric rise since its foundation in 1998, culminating in a 2016 senior county final appearance.
Shortly, he will oversee Knock’s first training session of the new year but, for the moment, he focuses on his 2018 expectations.
“I want to continue the good work that has been done over the past few years, the good work of the previous management teams,” Nally told the Dublin Gazette.
“My philosophy of coaching is about constant improvement, I’m not going to set any targets of winning this or winning that. Can I improve the group collectively and individually?”
His vision of player improvement is underpinned by his experience as a football coach tutor and a member of the GAA football review group.
Nally’s senior playing career spanned two decades in Dublin and Louth, starting out at O’Dwyers in Balbriggan. He represented Dublin from minor through to senior level and a move to Louth saw him eventually become involved coaching the Wee County’s footballers.
With that background, he recognises that the Dublin club football championship is arguably the most competitive in the country.
“Dublin teams have some of the best players in the country which means you have to be at your best. I feel the level of commitment at Castleknock is edging to county level. The record over the past few years has been very impressive. I don’t want to rip up the formula; I want to add to it, and tweak a little what the team are doing”.
As the new incumbent, he sees his first challenge as the interest that Dublin panels have in his charges. A perennial issue for many Dublin clubs he sees it as testament to the quality of the players “when you’re trying to put your game plans together you could be missing some of the key men, they may not be available to you.”
Clearly excited at the season in prospect, he describes Castleknock as “a new type of Dublin club made up of people, all from different areas, who bring different experiences, philosophies and outlooks a cosmopolitan club.”
The metropolitan, cosmopolitan side get their season underway on Sunday, February 25.