Advertisement
Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
# Paddy Christie
The Dub closing in on Longford senior job after 'having a shot' at Mayo coaching ticket
Paddy Christie has been recommended to take over as the new manager of the Longford footballers.

FORMER DUBLIN FOOTBALLER Paddy Christie first developed a likeness for Longford when he started visiting the county as a guest at GAA summer camps. 

paddy-christie Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Paddy Christie during his time in charge of DCU. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Meeting the emerging talents around the midlands county as well as the people working at the coalface of football in Longford left a positive imprint on him. He played against former Longford stars Niall Sheridan and Pádraic Davis — who managed the county team between 2018 and 2021 — and remembers a time when Longford played in Division 1. Christie also came down to host some guest training sessions with the senior team during Luke Dempsey’s time in charge.

The overview was promising, and now Christie is on the brink of strengthening his ties with the county. Over the weekend, it was announced that the Ballymun Kickhams man will be recommended at their next county board meeting to take the Longford senior managerial reins.

“I liked what I saw,” Christie tells The42, ”and there was a nice attitude around the place, and you just get a feel for the place. I can’t explain why, there’s just something there.

“I feel we’re on our way but until it’s sorted by the county board, you’re never 100% sure. There’s a fair bit of work done in the last week and I would be hopeful that it’s onwards and upwards to get cracking on things.”

Christie’s proposed backroom team includes Dessie Sloyan who has managed the Sligo U20s, along with James Glancy who was a selector for Leitrim manager Andy Moran this year.

Christie has worked with Glancy in the past during his time in charge of the Dublin minors, as well as bringing him to Ballymun Kickhams to avail of his coaching expertise. He’s less familiar with Sloyan but the pair were recently included on Declan Shaw’s coaching ticket during his pursuit of the Mayo senior manager post.

declan-shaw Tommy Grealy / INPHO Declan Shaw included Paddy Christie on his coaching ticket for the Mayo job. Tommy Grealy / INPHO / INPHO

Kevin McStay was later selected for that appointment which, in turn, led to Christie’s journey to the Longford vacancy. He felt Sloyan would be a strong addition to his backroom unit and arranged a meeting where he discovered a compatible coaching mind.

“We seemed to be on the same hymn sheet in a lot of areas. You don’t want to be on the same hymn sheet with everything because you have people who are totally similar, I don’t think that’s good for the players.

You need a little bit of friction and conflict because you need to be challenged. I need to challenge and he needs to challenge me, but the general philosophies have to be the same. And it’s the same with James Glancy. The management has to have a bond with themselves and the players.”

Expanding on the Mayo opportunity that didn’t materialise, Christie says he was drawn to the role out of an ambition to help a side that has the potential to achieve but has fallen short in the past.

“The connection between Declan [Shaw] and I was through Castlebar Mitchels because I would have trained the Castlebar Mitchels players that were up in Dublin for him. I used to meet eight or 10 of them once a week. He got onto me and asked if I’d be interested in having a shot.

“And having travelled quite a distance to Tipperary, it was actually a little bit crazy to even consider it but I suppose when you have teams that are starved of success, you’d like to try and give them a little bit of help to get them over the finishing line.

“It happened with Tipperary and Ballymun. I wouldn’t say it had an awful lot to do with me but they did win a Munster championship in our first year and it was fantastic. To have a marginal effect on them to help them over the line is something that sums up the centre of my heart. Mayo have been so close so many times and wouldn’t it be lovely if they won one All-Ireland?

tipperary-players-celebrate-after-the-game Laszlo Geczo / INPHO The victorious Tipperary footballers after winning the 2020 Munster SFC. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

“And it would probably end up beating my own county Dublin along the way but I look at things more in terms of development and I’m more interested in the people that are involved rather than where they’re from.

“I just want to make a difference.”

Should all the Ts get crossed and Is dotted, Christie will assume the throne in Longford with a bulky managerial CV. He enjoyed Sigerson Cup success with DCU and is a notable coaching figure in his club. He’s also a former manager of the Dublin minor footballers.

More recently, he has been working in Tipperary where he was part of the backroom team which delivered a famous Munster SFC crown in 2020, ending an 85-year wait for provincial honours. Christie has also managed the Premier County’s U20 side.

“I managed Tipperary U20 for two years and the DCU Sigerson team and that DCU team would probably beat a lot of counties, or certainly give them a serious whack. I enjoyed bringing in people that I felt could move things on, and that’s what happened with DCU in particular. That’s what I want to try and do again.

It’s not about me coming in, or about whether I played for Dublin. It’s about adding little bits and pieces and bringing in some people that I know can add to the thing and bring it on to another level.

“I had three great years with Tipperary and I saw David Power working really well with Tipperary and the things that he did. He did an awful lot of good things down there. I’ve worked with other clubs and I’m picking up things all the time. When Longford came up, admittedly at the start, I was a bit tentative but eventually, it grew on me. I just thought that I’m ready for this.”

Exclusive Six
Nations Analysis

Get Murray Kinsella’s exclusive analysis of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign this spring

Become a Member

Looking towards the targets he has in mind for the Longford footballers, Christie has a strong vision for the markers he wants to hit in 2023. He will be the third Longford manager in as many seasons following the terms completed by Pádraic Davis and Billy O’Loughlin, who stepped down recently due to work commitments.

Longford survived relegation from Division 3 last year and later lost their Leinster SFC opener against Westmeath and bowed out of the Tailteann Cup after losing out to Fermanagh.

“Talking about promotion is quite dangerous because realistically, it came down to the last game in the league this year to try and stay up.

darran-gallagher-gets-to-the-ball-ahead-of-brian-howard Ashley Cahill / INPHO Ashley Cahill / INPHO / INPHO

“What I would be saying to people around the county is that if they could be in reaching distance on the last day of the league and if they have a chance of going up, and they produce the goods, that’s grand. But if they can’t and they finish mid-table, then that’s where I’d like to be rather than at bottom end.

“The group is in transition and there’s been a few changes. I think Billy has put in some good ground work there but there’s a new group again. With the Tailteann Cup, to get back to Croke Park in a Tailteann Cup semi-final would be huge.

We saw the effect it had in Westmeath this year and Longford wouldn’t be far off Westmeath. They beat them in the league this year and if we could get into Croke Park playing against teams that are at the same level as them that’s a big bonus and a big selling point for players who are considering finishing up or not sure about whether to commit or not.

“There’s a round-robin format this year so we’ll get three games and there’s a chance of getting out of the group and into Croke Park. That’s something that will really benefit Longford.”

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel