KILDARE senior football manager Jason Ryan will be back on the training field this week and he’ll have a familiar face alongside him.
Mick Casey, who spent five years alongside Ryan in Wexford, has joined the Kildare management team from the De La Salle club in Waterford. Casey will be a coach with Kildare rather than a selector.
“We’re always looking for people who will challenge the players and I know Mick very well from his time with me at Wexford. We want to have as professional a set up as possible and Mick is somebody who not only will the players learn from but also us as coaches,” said Ryan.
Another man who will be involved with the senior management team is Celbridge’s Trevor O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan is currently working alongside under-21 manager Tom Cribbin but will join up with the senior set up once his under-21 commitments are finished.
Meanwhile, the Kildare squad will be back into action this week after the training ban finished with the end of November.
“The idea at this time of year is essentially to put the players back together again. We’ve a huge number of guys who are going for operations or have had operations. We’ve other guys who have so many knocks and niggles from the end of the season. When the players leave the inter-county team and go back to their clubs they are willing to do anything to get out on the pitch for their club so this is the first chance we get to put them back together again,” said Ryan.
The extended squad will a feature a number of new faces following the recent trial process.
“This time last year there was a panel in place so when I started I knew who was on the panel and who wasn’t and we went from there whereas what we are doing now is looking at a lot of guys so the group is bigger than this time last year. It’s an exciting time, it’s a time that is quite difficult in some ways because you trying to bring new players in and integrate them with the plaeyrs who are there, you are trying to assess those players themselves. In addition to that you are trying to finalise a backroom team. It’s far from football and is such a contrast to what will be happening in a few weeks time,” he said.
The players will be put through their paces by new strength and conditioning head coach Barry Solan, who will have Steve Sheeran, Brian McGrogan, Alan Kenny and also Straffan’s Rob Kellyworking with him.
“It’s very positive, they are all working hard. It’s a weird time of the year but it is a time that you just have to make sure that you are ticking the boxes for the start of January because if you get too carried away just thinking about the championship you can forget about the league and the O’Byrne Cup. If the O’Byrne Cup isn’t structured and organised in the right manner you are not going into the league in the correct manner and if the league isn’t in the correct manner then you are in trouble and not preparing in the right way for the championship. One leads into the next and you want to be the best condition you can be for each one of the competitions,” said Ryan, who will have Solan available at every training session.
“Barry will be at every training sessions, field or gym, and every match. Initially, I was hoping that Barry would work a certain number of days but his condition on taking the job was that he would be at every training session he was available for so that very quickly set the scene of how interested he is with the group and how motivated he is to work with the group.”