Interview with "Dessie Glynn"

In all the squads you’ve been part of as a player, can you name one (or more) of the following:

Funny Guy : From the 1977 team, many fellas e.g. Peter Gillhooley, Jody Connolly, Gerry Doherty and Paddy Forde.
‘Tough as nails’ : Tommy Fahy (Carnaun), Peter Gillhooley
Fastest Player : Leo Coffey, Eugene Corley
Most skilful player: Michael Kilkelly, My brother Joe Glynn
Most ‘grumpy’: Nobody comes to mind.
Best player : Michael Kilkelly

From all the players you’ve played with, name your strongest five-a-side which includes yourself. I have given myself options for each position. I don’t think I would include myself.

Goalkeeper: Eugene Corley (formerly from Caheroyan), played in goal for Galway Rovers in their first game in League of Ireland (Caheroyan), Patsy Lynch and P.J.Killeen

Defender : Francis Kilkelly (Caheroyan), Peter Gillhooley

Midfielder : Pat Kilkelly R.I.P., Tommy Fahy, Joe Greene (Ballymana, Craughwell)

Striker : Michael Kilkelly (Caheroyan-also played as centre forward on University College Galway First Year team (Freshers) in hurling.

Manager : Timmy Holian (Park). I had no experience of seeing Michael Dunleavy as a coach but he coached a District league team so that is a definite badge of honour. There are many of the recent coaches that I wouldn’t be familiar with so I cannot say anything about them.

From a few lads kicking a ball on St.Patrick’s Day in 1971, to almost 650 members now, the Club has come a long way.
What would you say are the best things about Athenry FC ?

Somebody said that you can describe a Club in three Fs ;

Football, Finance and Facilities.

Well , the football has improved with better coaching. The most successful clubs give coaching courses their top priority. Also, I have to admire the idea of giving a substitute who sits on the bench or stands on the sideline a certain amount of game time on the field. I hear coaches are doing this nowadays.

The Finances I cannot say too much about but the various fundraising efforts are good. I like to contribute to the development draw which is for the future development of the Club. The ‘Chaser’ was a great success.

The Facilities are great. The clubhouse is a real testimony to the hard working committees over the years. Great to get tea and a biscuit there at full-time, well done to the ladies (and fellas).

Some suggestions for the Club development:

It would be good to see more work done on drainage of the senior pitch in Moanbaun. This is ongoing so that is good. The all-weather pitch allows training /coaching to take place no matter the weather. The new pitch will hopefully be well drained.

Maybe in the not too distant future it might be possible for spectators to have a sand/gravel path all the way to the main and a small covered stand for spectators. I can only say that the new pitch/ running track/walk is a great idea. The involvement of the Athletic Club is great as a combined effort. I think there is another group/club involved. The ladies (and fellas) who give out tea and sandwiches in the clubhouse for certain games is a great idea.

The Club committee are doing a lot of good work and I think that the local community should know about the great work. The articles for the ‘News and Views’ are great. It would be nice to see a notice about the Club e.g. a contact email address, website and phone number in the ‘What’s on?’ page at the back of the News & Views’. Alternatively, maybe the club’s training on Saturday mornings from September to May. It’s not really to attract more kids to the training but it is a way of seeing the Club there with the other Clubs in the area. Athenry is continuing to have a lot of new people coming to live in the town and they like to look at the ‘What’s on?’ page first where all the other clubs have their notice.

Well done on putting these questions together and hope the answers are helpful to the Club. It’s a great idea to ask not just myself but other former people that were involved. It’s a great way of keeping us involved with the Club.

I am proud to say that I was there on St. Patrick’s Day in 1971 when it was originally decided to establish a Club in Athenry. Next year 2021 is the 50th anniversary of the Club and that is a great testimony to the success of the Club. Here’s to the next fifty years.

Part 2 Dessie Glynn Interview 

Dessie as a coach, it has been mentioned that you were light years ahead of those in your time.

What did you enjoy most about coaching?
What advice would you give to others that are thinking about, or are already beginning their coaching career?

- I am well aware of my shortcomings as a coach but I suppose that didn’t stop me from trying to do the right thing when coaching or knowing a better way of doing something. Being able to listen to players individually is always a good thing to want to do, or be able to do. Having respect (for players and officials) is now written on players arms of jerseys. I hadn’t done any course when we won the old second division 1977 junior league (today it’s named the First Division). However, the players on that team were good players and got on very well with each other. This was a key reason, as well as talent, the team won the league that year.

A thing I enjoyed most about coaching was having a few ‘well chosen drills’ for a training session with a team and getting it across to the players how a particular drill is used in a game situation. That gives great satisfaction. I say ‘well chosen drills’ because there must be a reason for the drills to be done in that coaching session. When we started playing club soccer, the ‘coach’ had also to be a team ‘manager/trainer’. It was demanding to have to be a trainer and a coach at the same time. No one in the Club had done a coaching course. A coaching course would give the trainee coach a guide as to what drills to do with the team. On cold Tuesday evenings at a ‘training session’ the team manager/coach usually has to be a ‘trainer’ as well as a coach and keep the players moving to keep warm. Therefore time is valuable and drills have to be for a particular purpose e.g. working on defence, improving passing or working on how to develop attacking play. In a team coaching session, you have to be very prepared to include some drills that will reinforce some aspect of team play that is needed in a game. Having cones, bibs, footballs and the all-weather pitch help coaching. Giving young players more touches of a football by having 4 or 5-a-side games is great to improve players. Even restricting the better players to two touches of the ball when the other players can use three touches is good for part of the game before letting all players use any amount of touches. An assistant manager could be the trainer and the manager the coach. Better still, if both had done coaching courses. Good to have two people involved in managing a team.

Of course there are ball skill drills for use with younger players. The improvement in ball skills is more evident as players are learning from a young age. This would give a lot of satisfaction.

I would advise anyone who wants to be a coach to do an F.A.I. Level One coaching course followed by the F.A.I. Level Two and follow-on courses. Use the drills learned on the coaching course in the training session and show the players how these drills are used in a particular move in a game. In other words, break the game down into ‘situations’ that players might find themselves in either in possession or not being in possession. Also, to get the players to understand the notion of the ‘shape’ of the team when we have possession or when the other team has possession.

The manager/coach Don O’Riordan was very much into this idea and his team ’got it’ eventually. For example, if the right-full back is in possession ask the right mid-fielder where he should move to, so that the right-full back can pass the ball to him more easily. Then, get every player to ask himself the same question, ‘how can I position myself to make it easier for my team mate in possession to pass the ball to me?’. The whole objective is to get the team to figure out how as a team they can keep possession of the ball and not give it away to the opposing team. As a youngster, I used to run forward with the ball like a ‘headless chicken’ with my head down to get up field. An experienced player told me to go so far and stop, look around and wait for the rest of my team mates to catch up. Then, of course, pass the ball.

John Jarman, a coach who came to us many years ago, tried to get us to keep our heads up when we had the ball so that we could pick out a team mate to pass to. We need flat, rolled and drained pitches to play good soccer. A rolled pitch will allow players to play better.
Eric Levine at a training session would tell his team to spread towards the sidelines as the ball was worked out of defence. Then get a mid-fielder to ‘show’ or ask for the ball to be passed to him. It’s difficult to beat a team that has a man out near the sideline ready for the ball to be given to him when a team mate brings the ball out of defence or gets forward into the centre circle.

Finally, especially for the younger players, if FUN can be brought into a part of a training session, all the better. And if they learn from a training session, they will enjoy the real game more.

"Desmond Glynn"

Thank you,
@athenry_afc / #athenry_afc