Wednesday, September 18, 2019

By Kieran Murphy

FOLLOWING the ratification of Turlough O’Brien and Colm Bonnar as senior football and hurling managers at last week’s Carlow GAA county committee meeting, the two men have been working hard to finalise their management teams for 2020.

After a period of negotiation with prospective candidates and talks with senior officers of the county board O’Brien has announced his back-room team.

Not surprisingly, Down man Steven Poacher is back as football coach while Rathvilly’s Darren Leonard and Éire Óg’s Simon Rea are coming in as selectors.

Kieran Nolan from Fighting Cocks is set to assume the strength and conditioning role while his brother Garry is the physio.

O’Brien has already been casting his eye over players and is looking forward to formulating a strong panel.

“Delighted to be back,” he told The Nationalist. “We have freshened up the back-room team and they are all looking forward to getting involved.

“The players are very pleased with the make-up of the back-room team as well. We haven’t got the back-room team together yet but we will be doing that very shortly,” said Turlough.

“Things are very positive. We are looking forward. There is great experience in that team and I think it will add something to the set-up,” he predicted.

He says he is impressed with the club championship so far this year.

“I think there have been some good games and some good intermediate games as well. That is great to see. We will be reviewing the panel based on what we see. Players who show potential should get the opportunity to play on the county team.”

On the hurling front, Colm Bonnar admitted he still has some work to do before he can name his management team. After their final game in the Leinster senior hurling championship against Wexford, the Carlow manager indicated that it might be time for him to step down.

The dynamic changed when Martin Byrne, his strength and conditioning expert, and his hurling coach Alan Malone decided they were not going to be involved with Carlow in 2020.

“Martin couldn’t commit for another year. He needed a fresh approach and it wasn’t for him to come back. Alan Malone had moved to Dublin,” explained Bonnar.

“Those two people would have most contact with the team. I know the players, I know what they are capable off and I feel there is more in them. A couple of new people on the management team could freshen things up and make a difference. That encouraged me [to stay].”

Bonnar also confirmed that from day one he has always had the full support of the county board

“To be fair to Sean Campion, Ronan Dempsey and the executive committee they went out of their way to ensure anything I needed in terms of a background management team was forthcoming,” he said.

“If I could get the right people in it could make a hell of a difference.

We have done a lot and there is more to do,” he promised.

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