Interview with Goalkeeping Coach "Adrian Cronin"

1. As a player you played at a high level, can you tell us a bit about what your career was like?
- My Career at high level ended early through injury but I’m lucky enough to have achieved a lot in that time, from achieving a lot locally to playing in the FA Cup, FA Youth Cup final, LOI, Irish Junior cup final and representing Ireland at U15, U16 and U18. Also playing in the U18 European Championships and signing for Millwall Football Clubl.
I got the chance to play with and against some top players locally, the likes of Eamonn Deacy, Ollie Keogh, Noel McDonnell, Seamie Crowe, Colin Hawkins, Ryan Casey, Daragh Sheridan to name a few and abroad, the likes Mark Kennedy, Ben Thatcher, Sol Campbell, Mario Melchiott and Bolo Zendan.

2. . What Galway Clubs did you played for? What success did you have? Was there a season that enjoyed the most?
- I played with Newcastle Utd, Galway United F.C., Mervue United AFC ,Galway Hibernians ,C.B Trotters and of course Athenry FC, won cups with a few of them (too old to remember some of the wins) but to win GBFM Sports Star of the Year for junior soccer was special, that was for the 2006 season when Athenry reached the Irish Cup final, which was definitely the most enjoyable season

3. You played for Athenry FC. What memories have you got from your time at the Club?
- I’ve a lot of good memories from my time with Athenry, I was lucky enough to come into a team that made me feel welcome from day one, but my best memory is the train journey to and from Dublin to play Dublin Bus in Irish Cup, Wives, girlfriends, parents, club members etc. all on the train together, a lot of players have mentioned about the team bond they have at the club and I believe it stems from that time.

4. You have been a Goalkeeping Coach in Galway for some time now. When did this start coaching?
- I’ve been coaching now for well over 20 years and in that time I’m lucky enough to have coached at levels from Grassroots to International. Adrian Cronin Goalkeeping

What do you enjoy most about coaching?
- The most enjoyable moment for me is when a young goalkeeper comes and tells you they have kept their first clean sheet or when we have worked on something in training and they can’t wait to come up to you and tell you it’s worked in a game, seeing their happy faces makes it all worth while.

5. Can you name three of the best keepers you have had the pleasure in coaching?
- I am privileged to have coached keepers who have gone on to become very successful in the game, I don’t think it would be far to name the 3 best as all the keepers had different attributes that made them stand out, over the years I’ve worked with Gary Rogers, Barry Ryan (Galway Utd), Conor O'Malley, Ger Hanley, Connor Gleeson, Ronan Forde, Brian O'Donaghue (Mervue Utd) to name a few and there are some up and coming keepers at underage level the likes Karen Connolly (Limerick), Sam O'Gorman, Cian Mulryan, Arron Curtis, Conal Doran (Galway Utd), James Egan ( Galway Minor) and Patrick Martyn (Athlone Town) again to name a few.

6. Would you agree that many clubs do not provide training for their keepers? Should every club have a Goalkeeping Coach?
- Without a doubt, my old coach use to say to me “if you don’t concede we won’t lose” The fact of the matter the game has changed so much and the roll of the keeper has changed even more, gone is the day when all you needed was to have a big kickout, the roll of the goalkeeper has gotten more technical and more tactical in both soccer and GAA and unfortunately we are not doing enough to develop our keepers here in Galway, yes we have some coaches working with clubs but the fact of the matter is they don’t have enough contact time with the keepers and many of the sessions are done in large groups, we need to provide a Goalkeeping Development Program for keepers in Galway, every club needs to have a goalkeeping coach that understands the need for goalkeeping development, we also can’t expect to bring keepers into current County development programs be it soccer or GAA and not provide specific coaching for a specialised position on the pitch.
This is something I hope to change in my new role with Galway Utd, I have spoken to Johnny Glynn (GUFC), Nigel Keady and Niall Harrison (FAI) about what’s needed and how to promote goalkeeping development in Galway and hopefully when the current situation changes I will be in contact with clubs to see what we can do together in relation to Goalkeeping in Galway.
Sorry about the long answer but as I hope you see goalkeeping is something I’m very passionate about.

How important is goalkeeper training?
- As the last line of defence you need have the abilities to not only deal with the position physically but also mentally, you need to prepare for all the different scenarios, problem solving, decision making, making mistakes etc. the more you train for the position the better you can deal with it when the situation arises

7. What is the best advise you give to young keepers on what they can do to improve at home?
- It doesn’t all have to be a physical activity, study the position, study the game, look online at other keepers, see what they do, analysis why they done what they did, how do they work with their defenders etc, if you’re having difficulty with a certain aspect of game look at what others keepers do in that situation.

8. From all the players you have played with could you name your own starting 11 with you in goal?
Tough one, played with some great players, here goes
Stephen Carr (Tottenham Hotspurs/Ireland)
Ben Thatcher (Millwall FC)
Noel McDonnell (Mervue Utd)
Wesley Byrne (Middlesbrough FC/Ireland)
Ollie Keogh ( Athenry FC)
Jamie O Driscoll (Athenry FC)
Seamie Crowie (Athenry FC)
Thomas Morgan (Blackburn FC/Ireland)
Johnny Mernagh (Athenry FC)
Mark Kennedy (Millwall FC)

Based on the Galway Leagues now, in your opinion, can you name the following:
"Unfortunately, I don’t get to see enough Junior games to warrant an opinion" However here are some players I think we should lookout for:
Keeper: Ethan Fahy
Defender: Alex Murphy
Midfielder: Tom Kitt
Striker: Mikey McCullagh
Best Referee: Trevor Conlon

Thank you,
@athenry_afc / #athenry_afc