‘Older brigade’ would welcome Steven Poacher back as Carlow manager

Steven Poacher could be on the verge of a return to Carlow as manager, a development that would please experienced forward Sean Gannon.
‘Older brigade’ would welcome Steven Poacher back as Carlow manager
Carlow footballer Sean Gannon during the Leinster GAA TURAS Resource Launch at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Carlow footballer Sean Gannon during the Leinster GAA TURAS Resource Launch at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Carlow footballer Sean Gannon during the Leinster GAA TURAS Resource Launch at Netwatch Cullen Park.

Steven Poacher could be on the verge of a return to Carlow as manager, a development that would please experienced forward Sean Gannon.

Down man Poacher was hailed as a key figure in Turlough O’Brien’s backroom team during the Carlow Rising years when the Leinster county impressed across 2017 and 2018.

Carlow won 15 of their 24 league and Championship games in that era, drawing another, and secured promotion from Division 4 in 2018 along with knocking Kildare out of that summer’s Leinster Championship.

Poacher stepped down from his coaching role last winter due to “mental fatigue” but has now confirmed he’s interested in talking to officials about returning to succeed O’Brien who stood down recently.

He’s currently part of the Down minor management but confirmed he’ll “give it thought” if contacted by Carlow and claims the players would be “delighted” if he did return.

Speaking at the launch of a number of new Leinster GAA TURAS coaching resources, Gannon said Poacher would be a popular choice.

“A three-man panel has been picked to find a new manager,” said Gannon. “The players obviously have their opinion and a lot of them are around a long time, they’ve been big leaders around the county, so they have a couple of opinions and I’m sure they’ll meet with the guys and give their opinion. All it will be will be: ‘Look, we like this guy or this guy’. But ultimately it will be up to the three boys from the county board to pick who the manager is.

“It’s been very quiet around here. Normally these things leak out but I’ve heard nothing. Steven Poacher has come out in the Carlow Nationalist saying he’s interested in the job. I’m sure he’d be very much welcomed back here, especially by the older brigade. If he gets it, it would be good.”

Steven Poacher
Steven Poacher

Poacher’s return would ensure some continuity within the group following O’Brien’s departure.

Gannon feels that whoever comes in will inherit a strong panel capable of going places after a difficult 2019 beset by injuries and suspensions.

“Anyone that’s been on the panel for the last few years, we don’t fear anyone, we don’t mind coming up against anyone, we expect to win,” said the 2019 Leinster club finalist. “That’s been instilled in this team that’s here now.

“Turlough O’Brien put in a huge effort and what he probably improved most was our self belief. I’m involved for 13 years and for the first eight or nine years of that, including the early days of Turlough, that was a lack of belief in our own ability.

“We were kind of ran down by everyone for a long time around the country and maybe we bought into that a little bit ourselves. Turlough and people like Stevie instilled a belief in us, they said: ‘There’s footballers five minutes down the road that are able to do it, why can’t we do it?’”

Gannon also lined out against Dublin, Monaghan and Tyrone in huge Championship games under O’Brien.

He’d like this year’s Championship to be an all-island knock-out competition.

“You could look at it that we’ll have a new guy in, a fresh manager who’ll have the opportunity to watch our club championship, test things out in the Championship and then go into a competition that is very important for 80 or 90% of teams in the country which is the National League next year,” said Gannon.

- The Leinster GAA games development department has launched a number of new TURAS coaching resources. To find out more about the TURAS programme and to download the resources for free simply go to leinstergaa.ie.

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