STATEMENT: Stephen Glennon steps down as Galway senior manager

STATEMENT – 09/10/2018

From: Stephen Glennon, Galway Senior Ladies Football Manager.

After a great deal of consideration, it is with regret that I have decided not to continue for a third year as Galway senior ladies football manager. It is a decision I have not come to lightly but, unfortunately, I am unable to give the role – and these magnificent bunch of players – the 100% commitment and dedication they deserve in 2019. This decision I cannot subscribe to any one reason but to many – family, work and college, among them.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my family, extended and immediate, in particular my wife Edel, for picking up a great of the slack at home, and son Thomas and daughter Lena, for the sacrifices they have made so I could pursue the sporting opportunities that have fortunately come my way.

Secondly, I wish to thank the Galway senior ladies and the management team. All I can say is the last year was one of the most enjoyable of my life and a finer squad of players you could not work with. The sacrifices they make correlate with those made by elite sportspeople across the other GAA codes and sporting disciplines and, yet, they receive a fraction of the recognition, support, or financial backing of their peers. Their willingness to learn, embrace a vision and drive it forward is a credit to them and I sincerely hope it is not too long before they can secure national honours at senior level. I don’t wish to single out any one player but it would be remiss not to thank Emer Flaherty and Tracey Leonard, Galway captains in 2017 and 2018 respectively, along with 2017 Galway U21 joint captains, Megan Glynn and Michelle Joyce, both of whom spearheaded our successful bid for All-Ireland Aishling McGing Cup glory last November.

Indeed, just as Galway’s underage teams have thrived in recent years, I firmly believe the senior set-up is already moving in the right direction. In addition to the All-Ireland U21 victory, in the last two years alone, the senior team has won two Winter Leagues and back-to-back Connacht titles. Also, in the last two campaigns we were knocked out by the then reigning All-Ireland champions, namely Cork in 2017 and Dublin in 2018. The side has also contested two National League semi-finals while, the Summer just past, the senior team appeared in an All-Ireland semi-final for the first time since 2014.

Although that semi-final defeat to Dublin last August was disappointing – and did hurt – I would urge the players to bear in mind that Dublin were playing in their fifth consecutive All-Ireland semi-final and the experience of that was vital. Underlining this, Dublin had 16 survivors from their 2014 squad, which edged by the Tribeswomen in that year’s semi-final. Of that 16, 13 of those Dublin survivors started – with another also featuring off the bench – in the game last August. 14 out of the 16. Galway, for their part, had five starters from 2014. So, I would urge the players to stay the course and be patient and not settle for anything less than they deserve, on or off the field.

To the management team – Michael Comer and Tim Rabbitte (coaches) and selectors Noel Kelly and Ciara Moran (the glue of the operation) – I want to express my deepest gratitude for the significant amount of time and effort that they put in. Quite often, it was above and beyond the call of duty and, from a personal point of view, I learned so much from each of you, as I know did the players.

To those in the backroom team, I also wish to thank them for generously giving their time and knowledge. Dylan Connors (strength & conditioning), Katie Kilbane (sports psychology), Katrina Connolly (goalkeeping coach), Gary Sice (forwards coach), Nollaig Cunningham (defensive coach), Adam Flynn (match day stats), Kate Sherry (videographer), Niall Moran (video editing/production) and, last but certainly not least, Beatrice McGinley and the staff at Galway City Physio.

There are a whole host of others who also lent themselves to an environment that encouraged everyone to reach for their full potential and fostered an atmosphere benefitting a squad aspiring to be considered among the sporting elite, including the staff at Velocity Fitness in Tuam; our primary sponsor Supermac’s – Pat and Una McDonagh and Padraig O’Neachtain; H West Motors, Oranmore (for their kind sponsorship of our kit van this year); Galway GAA and, in particular, Aoife O’Connell and the staff at Loughgeorge; Christy Browne, Willie Ward and the lads at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe; Ian Doyle and the lads in Tuam Stadium; Owen McArdle and the Feed the Pulse team; Bus Eireann and our driver Vivienne, along with Burke’s buses in 2017; Tommy Conneely and the guys at Avenir Sports Performance; and nutritionist Nóra Ní Fhlannagáin. I also wish to thank NUI Galway (Dangan), Claregalway, Kilkerrin/Clonberne and St. James’, among others, for the use of facilities in this time, along with The Claregalway Hotel, The Clayton Hotel and Tranquillity Leisure Centre, Athenry.

Also, gratitude to 2018 guest speakers Kevin McStay, Cathal Reilly, Jeffrey Lynskey – who was always available to offer guidance throughout the past two years or so – and to comedian Aidan Tierney for providing some light relief when it was needed.

I would also like to acknowledge the staff of Cuisle, Donamon for facilitating our training weekend earlier this year and to all those sponsors who, along with the contribution from the County Ladies Board, ensured the outing’s success. The squad also had a very successful day at Cuckoo Hill Bootcamp, and thanks to Tommie Costello and his staff there.

In 2017, we also had a number of people who worked with the squad, including Richard McNicholas (selector), sports psychologists Tony Óg Regan and Caroline Currid and nutritionist Gavin Rackard and we thank them.

I would like to thank the players’ families on behalf of the management and the players for their unwavering support over the last two years. It was very much appreciated and we, too, recognise the sacrifices you all make, be it bringing the younger players to training or otherwise.

Of course, I would also like to thank the County Ladies Board, the clubs and the delegates for giving me the opportunity to work with a serious group of players. With so much underage success over the last number of years, I would implore the Board, clubs and delegates to firmly establish their vision going forward – objectives and goals – and determine how best these can be achieved.

Gratitude also to the many number of people who gave advice throughout the past two years, including former All-Ireland winning ladies manager PJ Fahy; and to Connacht LGFA, the National LGFA, in particular Jackie Cahill and Karen Togher, and Galway Camogie Board for their help and cooperation.

Finally, I would like to thank my colleagues in the media. All at the Connacht Tribune, for allowing me the time and space to fulfil my duties as Galway senior ladies football manager, and to those at Galway Bay FM, especially Darren Kelly and John Mulligan, the Tuam Herald, Galway Advertiser, Media West and the national media for the coverage they give to the ladies’ game.

Apologies if anyone has been omitted. Again, a sincere thank you to all.

Kind regards,

Stephen Glennon.

 

 

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