Interview with Club Coach "Colm Branagan"

1. You joined Athenry FC in 2007 with plenty of experience.
Where did it all start for you?
- Football started for me aged 6 in the St. Kevin's Mini Leagues. At least 10 of the group I was in went on to play under Football with St. Kevin's. I played with St. Kevin's up until U15. I then went to Stella Maris from 15's to u17's. I played Senior Football in the AUL Premier Division at 20 and played for a few clubs before joining Tolka Rovers. I spent 7 years with Tolka winning a few trophies and got my first cap at Junior International level against Scotland. Before moving to Portmarnock where I was fortunate to play for a very good and successful side full of Junior Internationals. I was lucky enough to win a lot of silverware and receive more J.I. Caps. I finished playing at the age of 37.

2. Since joining you have had many different coaching roles, is there a group that you enjoy(ed) coaching the most?
- I started coaching with Athenry FC in 2007 after answering an AD in the local paper looking for coaches. I started with the B team for two seasons before moving on to coach with the first team. After which I moved on to the U15's for two seasons. Following this, I went to coach at the AFC Academy as my two sons Jack and Fionn had started playing.
The last few seasons have been full on with my involvement in three or four teams each year.
Certainly working with the under age teams is most rewarding as you can witness the growth and development each season.
Working with the GFA League Centre teams the last few years has been very rewarding and challenging. It was great to experience the Kennedy Cup last summer and work with some very talented players and coaches.
This season I managed and coached the GFA U13 to a National Final win against Clare in Mullingar.

3. You have gone on to complete many of your coaching badges, what level of education do you have now?
- Completed the UEFA B Licence most recently and that was very enjoyable but very demanding. Coaching now for over 13 years.

4. You have developed many players over the year, some of which have made the development squads in Galway. What is your recipe for success?
- For me success in coaching is all about the relationships you have with your players, you cannot start to influence and develop players without developing a good relationship first. I believe having played at a high level helps too. I also like learning myself from players and this helps develop you as a coach.

5. This season you have been helping out with the first team, what challenges does this bring?
- I originally said I would help out with pre-season and I am still here!! Working with the first team this year has been very enjoyable, the challenge with working with senior players is very different to underage. Senior players will see right through you if you dont know what you are talking about tactically. The talent in this group is as good as I have seen in any senior team.

6. It seems the more the merrier for you, this season coaching an academy team, the first team, Galway FA U13's and helping out with Galway Utd too. How do you juggle your time between coaching, working and family?
- Yes, you could say that alright!! Juggling everything can prove difficult at times, but I have a very supportive wife who understands that football is in my blood and very much a part of who I am. Working with the different teams gives me different challenges and now working with Galway Utd U19's has given me a great opportunity to work at League of Ireland level.

7. What is your strengths and weaknesses as a coach?
- My strengths are probably: I love coaching and developing kids to reach their potential. I am continuously learning new ways of doing things. I have patience with players of all abilities and treat everyone the same.
- The obvious weakness is, I cannot say ''No''

8. Finally, what is the plan for the next three years?
- Hopefully to continue to coach at all levels, less teams though!!
Keep working with our current U11s for the next few years and the GFA teams.

Thank you,
@athenry_afc / #athenry_afc