Castleknock choose new hurling boss

by Stephen Findlater
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CASTLEKNOCK have appointed Antoin O’Cleirigh to take over the reins as the club’s hurling manager for 2015 as they take on AHL Division 2 for the very first time.

A club stalwart, O’Cleirigh oversaw the side that won the Dublin junior hurling championship – as well as the Leinster Special championship title – a couple of years ago before working with the Dublin minor hurlers last year.

And he is confident that the club, in tandem with his management team, can put in place the infrastructure to continue their meteoric rise to attain senior championship status to go with their league ranking.

“The bottom line is, mainly down to the work over 10 or 12 years of the juvenile section, they are producing quality hurlers and we want to give them a platform that suits them,” he told GazetteSport.

“Success is a very materialistic thing; if we can get participation and lads enjoying hurling and a place for everyone, success will be a by-product. It’s not the number one.

“We’re not simply looking after a senior hurling team but a culture of hurling in the club. We have a level for everyone at the moment to play.”

O’Cleirigh will be joined in his backroom by Damien Whelan, who has 12 years of coaching in the club under his belt, along with Tipp native Jimmy Darcy to coach the side.

They take on an ambitious side who finished 2014 in fine form, beating St Peregrine’s in a promotion playoff to earn a place in AHL2.

And the new manager says that they are a young side who have plenty of scope to develop with the right guidance.

“Take one or two lads out of it and there’s an average age of 21 or 22. They are ambitious and want to do well. In fairness to the club, it’s up to us to put in the infrastructure.

“We are facilitators; we are not going to block a goal or take a puck-out. The young lads are enthusiastic and dedicated. Hurling is a big thing for them and if we can provide a platform for them to achieve their potential, that is success.”

He adds, too, that with a number of dual-players in his panel, that the communication is right in the club to make sure that the welfare of all is not going to suffer despite the elevated ambitions.

“The footballers have been phenomenally successful and we are not that far behind. In providing balance and opportunity for all the young people in the area, we want to keep the hurling as strong as we can. The footballers are an exemplar for us to use.

“We have eight or nine dual players but I worked with [football manager] Enda Murphy before and it went well. He’s very sensible and easy to deal with.

“The main issue, which is very topical now, is player burn-out and welfare so we will make sure they are not flogged to death with a bit of co-operation.

“We were able to get through before with common sense on both sides. Certain times, you will have to prioritise but the beauty of it is that you see clubs around the country pulling against each other. We’re lucky that we have a co-operative crew on all sides.”

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