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Alan O’Shea determined to power Argideen Rangers forward

May 19th, 2024 12:00 PM

By Sean Holland

Alan O’Shea determined to power Argideen Rangers forward Image
Argideen Rangers' Sean Walsh is pursued by Kilmeen's Kevin Keohane during the 2023 Bandon Co-op JAFC. The teams will meet again in this year's championship.

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GIVEN that he used to make the five-hour round trip from Ardfield to Waterville regularly for football, Alan O’Shea smiles when asked about the short 20-minute trip to Timoleague, the latest stop in his football story.

The new manager of Argideen Rangers’ football team hails from across the county bounds in South Kerry. 

His CV since O’Shea swapped Waterville for West Cork in 2012 is impressive – as player/manager, he twice guided St James’ footballers to Carbery JAFC glory, their first-ever in 2019 and a second in 2022 when his former club beat his current club in the final.

Now with his football boots hung up, O’Shea has his feet planted firmly on the sideline and he’s looking to guide Argideen Rangers to glory. 

The short spin from home to his latest football challenge pales in comparison to the five-hour round trip from Ardfield to play with his home club Waterville. 

‘That's the way it was,’ O’Shea said, ‘I travelled alone too. People used to do that then, but not as much anymore. It was madness, but you weren't even thinking about it.

‘Once I had kids, then I decided to get involved with St James. I was training with the lads and then once I got to know them, I decided to be player-manager,’ he explained. 

The role of a manager isn’t an easy one, so throw in the element of being on the pitch at the same time and it’s a whole other ball game. What is the thought process for a manager who is playing and having to make tactical decisions? 

‘When you're a player-manager, I’d put it at about 70 percent concentrating on the team, and 30 percent concentrating on yourself,’ O’Shea said. 

‘There was a lot to it but the hardest thing was probably that you were training with the lads, so you had to perform yourself. If I didn't perform, I would have to take myself off. 

‘Another difficult side of it was that you would bond with the lads; they're friends for life, then it would be hard to not start someone. That was the hardest thing I found about it. But it's all about the team, you have to put the team first.’

Now the manager of the Argideen Rangers footballers, he is with a club whose hurling team is in the premier junior division. It’s a new approach, but working so far. Argideen’s footballers have two wins from their three Division 7 games, including a 0-12 to 1-7 victory against his former club St James.

'We train every fortnight,’ O’Shea said. ‘In St James, every Tuesday night was football, and every Friday night was hurling, that's the way we used to operate. This year it’s week on, week off – you have them for the week. It's new for me but I think it's a good balance with the hurling.’

He added: ‘With both teams playing in the county leagues, it's very heavy going on the players. There should be a break for a week every month. That’s the only issue with it, it’s four weeks in a row every month. Inter-county players, don't do that.’

The Timoleague football team possesses a lot of talent who have come through the underage ranks with Ibane Gaels and O’Shea enjoys working with them but explains they will need time to develop.

‘They're a very young team. You're dealing with a lot of 22, 23-year-olds. Most of the lads are coming from minor and U21s. You have to give them a chance. They're talented players, but look, you need a bit of luck as well. Every fella has different pathways in life, so it's up to them what they want to do. We’ll just wait and see how it goes,’ O’Shea added.

Argideen Rangers have been drawn in Group 3 of the 2024 Carbery JAFC alongside Tadhg MacCárthaigh, Randal Óg and Kilmeen. Argideen’s last triumph in this championship was in 1994, so O’Shea will be working hard to end that 30-year wait, and bring his Midas touch to Rangers.

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