SHANE Crowley believes O’Donovan Rossa are close to making a big breakthrough in the county senior football championship – but admits they need a fresh voice to get them over the line.
After two years as manager of the Skibbereen senior team, Crowley has decided to step back from the role.
He led Rossas to the last four of the 2015 Cork SFC and the Kelleher Shield trophy (first time winning the Division 1 county league title in 14 years) in the same year, however the Skibb side endured a disappointing campaign this year, bowing out of the Cork SFC in Round 2B and finishing mid-table in the league, with seven wins and six losses in their 13 games.
Given the promise they showed in 2015, Skibb failed to build on that this past season.
‘I’ve been there for two years as manager, was a selector with Peadar Healy the year before that and I was involved with the U21s before that so some of the lads have been listening to my voice for the last five, six years. I think it’s time for a fresh voice and for someone to give the lads the same message but in a different way,’ Crowley said.
‘I have two young kids as well and it’s hard to combine it all. I want to take my mind out of football as well and step outside of it, instead of thinking football 24-seven. It’s the right time to step away.’
Crowley has seen enough of Skibb to know that this team can make a big impact in the county championship, and he has urged the club’s 20-somethings to step up and lead this side forward.
‘I’d like to think they’re not too far off. They’re as good a squad of players as there is in the county, but the small things need to be go right for you as well,’ Crowley said.
‘The players need to buckle down and give it one good shot.
‘Donal Óg Hodnett, Kevin Davis, Ryan Price, Dave Shannon, Mark Collins, they are hitting their prime and you have some good minors like Sean Fitzgerald and Dylan Hourihane coming through as well.
‘What you are losing is the Eddie Nealons and the Pat Gilmores so that’s experience and leaders that will be leaving, so it’s Donal Óg and that age group who needs to drive this on.
‘These guys need to take ownership and leadership of this group.
‘For a while it was Eddie Nealon, Paddy Nealon, Conor McCarthy who were leading the charge but they won’t be there forever so it’s up to the lads now to take this on.’
O’Donovan Rossa have not yet made a decision on Crowley’s replacement.