FORMER GALWAY DUAL star Alan Kerins was confident that Micheál Donoghue would be a successful manager with the hurlers after working alongside him at club level in Clarinbridge.
Donoghue is on the cusp of guiding Galway to a second consecutive Liam MacCarthy Cup this Sunday after helping them to end a 29-year drought last year.
And Kerins is not surprised to see him thriving at the helm.
The pair won a Galway county title together in 2001 with Donoghue as captain before he went on to assume the manager position in Clarinbridge and guide them to All-Ireland success in 2011 while Kerins was still playing.
Kerins saw influential qualities in him at that stage that would be of benefit to him at inter-county management level, having experienced the kind of belief he instilled in that successful Clarinbridge team.
“He always had a great sense of leadership about him,” says Kerins.
“He was quiet but when he said something you listened he had that presence in the dressing room. He stopped playing then he had a back injury and he took us over then in 2009 and we won the county in 2010 and All Ireland final in 2011 so he was really good, great man manager and can make tough decisions when he has too.
We were flittering around for ten years and he transferred us into coming out of nowhere to win an All Ireland title and we were at the end of our careers a lot of us.”
“He got us to believe in ourselves and got the older players to demand more of ourselves set higher standards and not to accept mediocrity.
“He brought a great team around him in Noel Burke and Tom Helebert and we never had injuries we had just 16 of a panel and he emphasised good quality backroom staff if we had one injury that year it might not have gone our way.
“He would meet us regularly individually and made you believe in yourself and he demanded that we set standards as players and that the other guys around us lived up to those standards as well.”
Kerins finished his Galway dual career with an All-Ireland football title to his credit after the Tribesmen defeated Meath in the 2001 decider.
But he was unable to complete the double after suffering defeats in the 2001 and 2005 All-Ireland SHC finals as Galway failed to bridge the gap on the successes of the 1987 and 1988 teams.
Looking on at the current Galway outfit however, he can see how Donoghue has helped players develop and mature as they seek to secure more All-Ireland glory this weekend when they take on Limerick.
“I knew that he would successful when he went in because of my experience with him he was a phenomenal manager and a lot of the players have really come on under his wing, Gearóid McInerney Joseph Cooney they are real leaders and all the forwards have stepped up too with Joe and their S&C with Lucasz [Kirszenstein] they are at a different level than they were.
They are so big and strong and they can move and they can hurl are they are cohesive it is all about the collective there is no individualism its a collective on and off the field.
“He is a big believer in that and once they are all on the same hymn sheet anything is possible.
“The back room team is the same they are all really good guys, Damien Joyce, Franny Forde, Noel Larkin really good people as well as excellent at what they do and they are all human beings at the end of the day so how you get on has a big bearing on things.
“They really cultivate that team spirt and you can see that when the shit hit the fan they responded well and the fight for each other and play for each other there is no one taking dat shots the right man in the right place gets it.”
Former Galway dual star Alan Kerins was speaking at the launch of the highly anticipated 2018 Croke Park Charity Challenge, which he is organising in partnership with Self Help Africa.
The event will see people from the world of business,sport, media and entertainment partake in a charity sporting spectacle on the 23rd October to raise funds for Self Help Africa.
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