Castleknock are looking forward to life in AFL1 after their run of league success in recent years. Picture: Niall O’Connell

CASTLEKNOCK’S senior footballer’s first ever foray into the top-tier of senior football will be led by newly appointed manager Lar Norton.
A man whose footballing education was schooled on the pitches of Na Fianna alongside former Dublin boss Pillar Caffrey was announced as Castleknock’s senior boss.
Speaking to GazetteSport on his background, Norton said: “I’ve been a Na Fianna man my whole life, my father would have been one of the founding members of the club and I played there and have coached a number of teams.
“But, in recent years, I’ve moved out this way with the family, the kids have got involved Castleknock and I am now delighted to be the club’s senior football manager.
“I think perhaps my experience with Na Fianna helped me in my interview as I was up against a number of other candidates for the role. But I’m in now and work has already begun,” he added.
Indeed it has. Norton has wasted no time at all in assembling a backroom team. Roscommon man Kevin Stritch has come in and will play a vital role in the training of the senior footballers.
Former Leitrim footballer Tom Quinn will also assist Norton as well as Barry Egan and Seamus McKiernan.
Despite almost constant promotions in recent years, Castleknock players, club members and fans will surely be aware of the step-up that faces them in 2016. On the off-chance that they have yet to realise, their new manager will be quick to relay the message.
“It’s a major challenge,” said Norton. “You look around AFL1 and look at the clubs, Vincent’s, Crokes, Boden and the rest; they are all clubs with massive history. Castleknock don’t have history. This current team is making history and will go down as the first great team at the club. Clubs in similar positions to ourselves have made it to Division 1 before and fallen away; we’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“The coaches I have coming in are excellent and will prepare the team for the season, I’ve no worries there,” added Norton.
“We will look to play attractive football, but obviously we know we’ll have to be defensive at times.
“Against teams in Division 1, at times you’ve got to almost build a 20ft wall in front of their forwards and say come on, let’s see what you can do.”
Despite this being the club’s first fling in the top tier, Norton has praised the preceding work of Tom McCormack, Enda Murphy and Mick Byrne for creating a professional structure at Castleknock.
“Those men have done great work and we have to continue it and ensure we’ve a strong first, second and minor team to make sure Castleknock become and remain competitive and successful at the top level,” concluded the new manager.