Flynn focusing on the positives


New man on the scene: Alan Flynn has been working his way through life as the new manager of Castlebar Mitchels during the Covid-19 crisis.

New man on the scene: Alan Flynn has been working his way through life as the new manager of Castlebar Mitchels during the Covid-19 crisis.

The current Coronavirus lockdown presents a trying time for any manager of a GAA club team - especially one who has just taken over a new side with ambitions of becoming the best in the county once again - but that is the situation new Castlebar Mitchels manager Alan Flynn finds himself in.

The Tuam native comes with an impressive CV in the inter-county game, having been the Kildare senior coach last term and before that the coach to the Clare footballers for two years, as well as having managed Galway to an All Ireland u21 title and been part of the Galway senior teams coaching ticket in the past - all that on top of being involved with numerous club teams over the years, including Ballinrobe back in the late 2000s.

"It's a very difficult time for all of us in so much bigger ways, but this is a part of what we do too in our lives. We got about four weeks done before everything happened. But with modern technology it's not been as bad trying to keep a check on things, if this happened 20 or 30 years ago, it would be very different and everything would have ground to a halt" he told the Mayo Advertiser this week.

However, being the manager of a group of young men is not just about getting through such trying times, he added, saying: "It is more than that, it's about contact with them as people, not players; because some lads have lost their jobs and don't know what's coming down the road and stuff, you have to give them that bit of support.

"We might not be able to do a huge amount for them, but at least they know that we are here and have a listening ear; it's about being as holistic as you can, because it's not just about football, it is about more than that."

As for the appetite of the players to keep working away on their own over the past few weeks, there are no signs of that being sated, he said: "You are still in contact with lads and they are doing a good bit of stuff at home and a lot of them have their own equipment and GPS and all that kind of thing and programs are very easy to get out to them to suit their own circumstances.

"These guys are phenomenal in terms of their approach - there is none of them that have a problem training. I don't have to push them, they are mad for road and to do a bit. A lot are not working at the moment or are preparing for exams and not many of them have children, so they like to get the bit of structure to their day, doing the bit of training on their own.

"We're working on mixing things up for them so they are not doing the same things all the time - we are very lucky we have a good squad, I suppose all lads at this level are like that."

Flynn has put together an impressive backroom team in Castlebar that has fresh faces, with former Mayo players Mickey Conroy on board and Brian Roache, who worked with Flynn in the past. "Yah we've a great team there, the likes of Mickey Cormac Rowland, Michael Durkan doing logistics, on strength and conditioning we have Mark Durcan and Brian Roache, Brian was involved with Galway u21s with me before, Sean Murphy looking after analysis and stats - who was with me before too. On the medical side we have Dr Joe Loftus - who is an important guy at the moment being able to give guys advice on this whole situation."

When the Castlebar position came up Flynn didn't hesitate in putting himself forward for it, he said. "It came up at a time that fitted with my ambitions, they were looking for something different. I was so aware of them, I'm from Tuam, so it's not to far away and I'd have always been well up to date on football in Mayo and have been going to a good number of the games and would know most of the clubs pretty well.

"The hunger is there, they have had a good bit of success over the past few years, like everything in any county, it is all to play for and that is the way the lads would look at it. We have a lot of guys back and lots coming through - the underage has been very strong in Castlebar for a number of years and we have three adult teams with big numbers across them all. The plan is to bring up the standard of everyone rather than section off different groups."


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