OVER the past five years Eddie Kirwan had been an integral part of Ephie Fitzgerald’s coaching setup during Nemo Rangers golden run of success.
When Fitzgerald stepped down at the close of last season, it fell to Kirwan to assume the managerial reins. And he immediately sought to assemble the right people around him.
He recalled: “The manager’s job came up and I just went for it. Luckily enough it went through. Having the right people around you is key then when it comes to delegating. John O’Sullivan, my brother in law, does the training aspect of it. He has a rugby background from Dolphin, then training the Irish women’s team for three years and before that he was with the Munster Youths.
“He took it on as a challenge and he’s brought a good, fresh voice. The lads have taken well to him and were sick of listening to me! Then you’ve Sean Hayes working with the forwards and Deccie Creedon with the backs. I don’t have a monopoly of knowledge of football and the lads have huge experience in those areas.”
Nemo Rangers’ championship interests ended at the quarter-final stage last summer and Kirwan spied an opportunity to revitalise their preparations for this season.
“When you get dumped out in July or August you’ve six months to dwell on what you’re going to do. The lads enjoyed the winter break and then they came back rejuvenated and refreshed for another season. So this year we had a club winter league where we had players from different teams all playing together. Then we did pilates and spinning for a number of weeks just to get a fitness base. It’s something different and unusual but the lads drove it on. We continued that on, another weekend we cycled to Rosscarbery during the summer and that was enjoyable.”
Their success of their preparations has been reflected in a series of impressive victories as they have swept through this year’s championship.
The semi-final victory over Clonakilty was founded on a powerful display after half-time where midfielders Peter Morgan and David Niblock established a dominant platform.
“We’ve two midfielders who were missing last year and they’ve a real sense of energy about them this year. They made a huge difference there in the third quarter against Clon. Ultimately they set the platform for the forwards in the third quarter and we got 1-6 or 1-7 from that, which was a big help in winning the game. But it was a team effort that got us through.”
Kirwan has been impressed by opponents, St Finbarr’s, route to Sunday’s final and is expecting a searching examination of Nemo’s title credentials.
“They are good, they’ve come through some hard battles on their side of the draw. They’ve shown a composure that comes from winning. They won’t be afraid and it’s going to be a real battle.”
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