By Damian Dolan
Ciaran Deely has intimated that he would like to continue as manager of the London senior football team, and if ratified hopes to bring Owen Mulligan on board in a coaching capacity.
London’s clubs will submit their nominations for the manager’s job at Monday’s (10 September) county board meeting.
“My hope is to continue,” Deely told the Irish World. “I’ve briefly spoken to Muggsy about getting involved. He’s looking to get into coaching and he’d love to do his coaching badges.
“I think it would be great for the whole set-up for someone like him to be involved.”
Mulligan, a three-time All-Ireland winner with Tyrone, played for London in 2016 and Deely is quick to praise the influence he had on the panel.
“Muggsy spoke to the lads about what it takes to be a winner and how ruthless he was and the Tyrone lads were, and just demanded excellence,” he said.
“He came in at the age of 35 or 36 and did every fitness session and made the same sacrifices as every other player.”
Deely was linked with the vacant Louth managerial position and did have a “brief conversation” with the Louth chairperson following Pete McGrath’s decision to step down. A conversation Deely describes as “nothing major”.
Deely has also had a “good chat” with the London county board to review the season and outline the “programme” he’d like to put in place going forwards.
Last year was a one season extension on Deely’s two previous years as manager. He also did one year as part of Paul Coggins’ management team.
Deely believes whoever is appointed must be shown some “faith” and given the job for the next three-year cycle.
“I think we are going in the right direction. I’ve a very good relationship with the players – they enjoy the sessions and how the team is run,” he said.
“But if someone else feels like they can do a better job, or if the county board or the players feel they want someone else, then that’s absolutely fine.”
A “core” of London-born players is at the heart of Deely’s vision for the county team, led by the likes of Liam Gavaghan, Adrian Moyles and Philip Butler.
Seven home-grown London players started the Exiles’ Connacht Championship clash with Sligo at McGovern Park this year.
Deely sees that “core” being augmented by the likes of Mark Gottsche and Martin Carroll, for whom London has become “their county”, with space left for what Deely calls a “sprinkle of stardust” – the likes of an Owen Mulligan.
Deely believes London needs a “stabled, settled team” and the key to that is home-grown talent.
London face three “very difficult years” with Galway’s visit to McGovern Park next May being followed by Roscommon (2020) and Mayo (2021).
Deely sees the next three years and as “opportunity to keep improving in the league” and a chance to “keep bedding in London-born players”.
“Let them make mistakes and be nervous in league games, and give them time and space to bed in to the team,” said Deely.
“And then maybe by the time Mayo come around these London-born lads will be seasoned inter-county players.
“I hope that’s the future for London. Whether I’m part of it or not, I don’t know.”
To help do that, he’d like to see “more resources and effort” put in to developing and retaining London-born players in the 17-21 age bracket, to keep them coming through to the senior ranks.
He says more can be done to tap into the experience of people working at professional football and rugby clubs within London, and full-time with youth athletes.
He added: “There’s a lot of experience in how to bring through a group of young players, that a lot of counties in Ireland maybe don’t have. They’ve access to the players, but maybe they don’t have people with the same expertise.
“London should be using every little advantage they have like that and trying to tap into that knowledge and experience, and trying to develop a young team going forwards.”