The View Column - the coaching conundrum

Noel Dundon


Noel Dundon



Kiladangan captain Paul Flynn lifts the Dan Breen Cup after their thrilling county final defeat of Loughmore/Castleiney. But, how will they fare next year in terms of training?

How exactly will club coaches approach the 2021 season?

Outside coaches meandering their way into new clubs for the 2021 season might well find that pastures new might not be quite the land of milk and honey as in the past.

There have been so many announcements in recent weeks about coaches being appointed here, there and everywhere in all four divisions, and even beyond, that one wonders if there are enough clubs to go around for all the journeying gurus with a whistle and set of cones.

It seems to be the norm nowadays - the cult of the coach has taken over. But, surely each club should temper expectation with a dose of reality. There are but a handful who are capable of winning the ultimate prize in each competition. So, is it realistic to expect the coach o transform a club and turn an average side into a winning outfit? Can silk purses actually be fashioned from sows ears?

There are few enough coaches who can do that and clubs need to be conscious that no matter what coach comes in, more or less the same raw material will be available to that coach as in 2020 - more or less. Of course younger players mature and come into their own, but the other side of that coin sees older players losing form and travelling down the slippery slope towards retirement with the passing of each season.

Granted, a new coach certainly gives a big lift to any team and new ways of doing business and organising sessions etc can be exciting and in some cases ground breaking. But, games are the great leveller and when they begin in full championship thrust, the real merit of the coach will become known. Poor league form will be forgiven for a time, but if that form continues into championship well...... Similarly, a great league campaign - probably without inter county players being involved remember- might create a flicker of excitement, but won't have a queue at the bookies wishing to back the underdogs against the favourites either.

So, just what does the coach do right now then? The championship will not be beginning until after the All-Ireland Final is played in July, so does that coach get back to training immediately when the lockdown ends? Or will a return to play approach by say, Easter, suffice? Easter Sunday is April 4 - a full 12 weeks before the championship is set to start.

The most likely answer is that as soon as it is permitted, players will be back in training whether in pods, bubbles or as a group. This means that the outside coach will be costing the club from perhaps six months out from the first championship outing. That will be a considerable outlay for the club management to deal with, especially when opportunities for fundraising are pretty limited right now.

Club ambitions must be matched by resources, on and off the field, and it is similar with the ambitions of the coach - what that coach hopes to achieve during his stint with any team should be centered on improvement of self and the team too.