COLM Aherne admits he just couldn’t resist the lure of Clonakilty’s great tradition when he was asked to get involved.
The Bandon man is the new manager of Clon’s senior footballers this season, a job he feels was ‘impossible to turn it down’.
‘I spent almost ten years involved with Bandon football teams from U16 up to adult premier and decided to take a break last season,’ Aherne explained.
‘I enjoyed it, spent a lot of time with my small lad, he’s five now, and took him to a lot of places. But the opportunity to get involved with Clon couldn’t be passed up.
‘I met Clon chairman Ger McCarthy, and with the tradition and history of the Clon club, it was hard to say no. Just look at these facilities here now, fantastic and then you look at the playing potential in the club and it was impossible to turn it down.’
The up-and-coming talent in Clon was one factor in enticing Aherne out of managerial retirement and he is not worried about Clon’s recent poor form in championship football.
‘No, I wasn’t worried about Clon’s recent record, twice in relegation battles,’ admitted the optimistic Bandon Garda. ‘There’s been a big change here since the team last won the county in 2009. Most of those guys are gone now but we still have Sean Nagle, and Timmy Anglin is getting fit again. We’ll be trying to blend in the younger lads who have won so much at U21 level.
‘Those U21 titles in West Cork are not handed out in lucky bags and Clon won three in-a-row. There’s loads of young talent coming through but to blend them all in is the big challenge now.’
Aherne’s target for Clon this season is to see progress as a team.
‘You don’t set a goal like winning the county until you get settled in and get to know the players and the club,’ said a realistic Aherne.
‘Progress from last season is key. I know the championship didn’t go well last year but the team finished the season on a high when they reached the Kelleher Shield final.
‘As a group they’re getting more mature and will set their own targets. They talk about it among themselves and the main thing is to match the talk with performances.
‘I’m under no illusions about what Clon people expect of their footballers. I had a great mentor in Clon man Seanie Hurley who owned my local pub in Bandon. As a young lad I used to go to a lot of Clon matches with him and my dad. I knew as much about Clon football as about Bandon football and it’s a challenge and a privilege to be involved here now.’