Ned English eats, sleeps and breathes Gaelic football.   23/05/2017

John Bohane speaks to Ned English.

Ned English eats, sleeps and breathes Gaelic football.
The experienced football coach is currently tasked with reviving the fortunes of the O'Donovan Rossa senior footballers this season. Despite his many years coaching many club teams, a divisional team and an inter-county team, he still retains a firm love for passing on his undisputed coaching knowledge. “I still enjoy it, especially working with people. The main enjoyment for me is seeing and helping players develop. It is not about winning or losing, it is about seeing personal development and how fellas make the best use of their ability,” said the experienced coach.Ned has been involved in coaching in coaching for the past 16 years ever since he started coaching his native club team Kilbrin. Ned has experienced a lot of success along with painful defeats over the years. “I started off with the Kilbrin junior footballers. It has been a rollercoaster of a ride, a lot of triumphs and disappointments. I always had a deep love of the game. I played when I was younger and I have a Science Degree which interlinks with sports on a regular basis. I was always interested in sports and coaching. I love watching systems and patterns emerge on the field of play. Often our best wins were simple steps such as helping Kilbrin beat Dromtarriffe in a junior divisional tie which was a great win. Another highlight was helping the Waterford senior football team beat Clare which was a great achievement. That was a great milestone for them. My biggest disappointment was when Mallow lost to Carbery in a senior county semi-final tie in 2004.”Ned has been tasked with reviving the fortunes of the O’Donovan Rossa senior football team this season. He is excited at the task ahead. “I took on this job for two reasons. I wanted to get more use out of my house in Cunnamore and take my boat out more often, this allows me the opportunity to do that. I also genuinely think that Rossas have a lot of potential which they have yet to fulfill. I am excited at the prospect and thought of helping them. Winning is never in your remit, all you can do is improve the players to the best of their ability and see where that takes them. I was impressed by the drive, unity and ambition within the club in their quest for success and I hope I can help them advance in their journey.”Ned readily admits that he has changed his coaching ideas and philosophies in recent times as he along with other coaches adopt to the modern game. “I have changed most definitely. The game is evolving on a regular basis and if you are not evolving with the changes you will be left behind. In the beginning I would have thought the game was more physical and you had to get that right. The longer I have been involved in coaching the more I realise the game is more mental based that physical. You have to get players’ mentality right and make sure their decision making is right on the pitch. This far outweighs the contribution from a physical aspect. When you marry the two elements together you get a perfect performance.”O’Donovan Rossa succumbed to a disappointing first round defeat against Nemo Rangers. Ned can take some positives from the game. “I knew going into that game that we were only going to be at around 60% of our efficiency. I wanted to see how good lads were based on how much we had done which wasn’t enough which I knew full well. It was an audit to see where we were. We saw some glimpses of potential but there were also plenty of weaknesses shown up. The question now for the players now is can they eradicate the mistakes and build on their strengths and positives. We are working hard at improving the players, harnessing and developing their many strengths. The audit showed where we are and where we need to improve. It is up to us to close that gap.”O’Donovan Rossa now progress to a second round tie against Clyda Rovers, a team who Ned previously coached. He still to this day holds great affection for the Mourneabbey based club. “I have a tremendous bond of affection for the club, they were a great group of players and a lovely community of people. They serve their parish well. I found it hard last season when I guided Ballincollig to victory against Clyda. I have a job to do however to the best of my ability. I have great respect for them.”Ned still retains great enthusiasm and a real passion for the game. He insists he will continue coaching and spreading the GAA gospel until the enthusiasm fades. “Coaching is a funny game. You get bad days when you think to yourself, ‘I have enough of this,’ and then you get re-energised and you push on again. I will stop coaching when the competitive spirit inside me fades a little bit. The day my will to win, my competitive spirit and my drive for the game stops is the day I will pack it in. When that day will come is anyone's guess. My body will also tell me and also when nobody wants me will be another clue to pack it all up.

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