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'Even when he couldn't train, Kieran's had a big influence' - Stephen Stack

His club manager discusses the impact of Kieran Donaghy on Austin Stacks’ Munster campaign.

Kieran Donaghy has been valuable on and off the pitch for Austin Stacks.
Kieran Donaghy has been valuable on and off the pitch for Austin Stacks.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THIS SUNDAY, KERRY Champions Austin Stacks take on Waterford’s The Nire in the AIB Munster club SFC final as they look to win their second provincial title.

Key to their semi-final victory over Ballincollig was using Kieran Donaghy as a target man with the Kerry star found more often in midfield than in the full forward line.

And Stack is full of praise for the Allstar even if his influence has been bigger than most people probably expect.

“Everyone kind of thinks that Kieran’s influence is just since he came on in the Mayo game.

“But for us he has had a very strong influence all year because when he couldn’t train with us because of his commitment with Kerry he came down to our sessions and I often got him involved by taking the B team when we were playing an A v B game.

“If we were doing tactical pieces I’d involve him as I think he has great potential as a coach. So, while I have a responsibility to lead the team along with the rest of the management team, I also feel if there are a couple of players capable of maybe coaching in time to come.

“I have to give them an opportunity and when he was injured – as he was unfortunately this year a few times –  I, no more than other senior members in the squad, I give them opportunity to maybe add a little bit more.”

AIB GAA Club Championships - #TheToughest Austin Stacks Manager Stephen Stack is full of praise for Star. Source: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

And, as Stack explains, there’s very good reason for this when it comes to Donaghy.

“He’s not a fella I think sits comfortably on the sidelines or to watch a club training session and I think you’d be a fool with his energy, enthusiasm and knowledge not to involve him or maximise his involvement in any way you can.

“So, when he was injured, I involved him and when he was available to train with us he had a big influence.”

On the pitch too, Stack is full of praise for the versatile All-Ireland winner.

“The great thing about Kieran is that if I ask him to play in goals tomorrow morning he will play in goals and will happily do it.

“He is the ultimate squad player in that he doesn’t think about himself, he thinks a lot about the other players in the squad.

“He is keeping in touch with fellas quietly and thinking I wouldn’t know but I’d hear about it and he’d be doing it in the most positive way and that’s the way he is.

“He has an awful lot of positive energy coming out of him and he has a very good attitude to life. He has a very good attitude to people too and whatever success he has this year I can tell you it hasn’t been by accident, he has worked exceptionally hard this year.”

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