Wednesday 22 January 2020

Roche to take helm at St Patrick's Donabate

Rory Kerr

The decision of Mark Kavanagh to step down as manager of St Patrick's Donabate has created a domino effect in the Dublin club scene.

Kavanagh's role will now be filled by Malahide man Ciaran Roche who steps into the breach after three years in charge with Skerries Harps along with brother Derek.

In his first big managerial stint - he had previously overseen the fortunes of St Sylvester's intermediate footballers - Roche helped maintain Harps' Senior Championship season, although they struggled with their league form.

Roche certainly had a hard time steadying the ship, particularly in the absence of their former Dublin Under-21 forward Harry Dawson, who was away last season travelling.

Undoubtedly the highlight of the campaign was their excellent 2-13 to 2-12 win over Clontarf in their Group two game in Parnell Park when Killian McGinnis struck for a late goal to seal a win which would ultimately keep them in the championship.

And it will be Killian's dad Terry who will fill the role vacacated by Roche. It will be McGinnis' second spell at the club, having also had stints with Ratoath, St Joseph's of Louth and most recently Scoil Ui Chonaill.

McGinnis has plenty of talent to work with as Killian, Adam Fearon and Ciaran Murphy all featured for the Dublin Under-20s at the weekend in Meath.

As for Roche, he will be expected to drive on St Pat's Donabate as they attempt to return to the glory days under Adrian Henchy who guided Donabate to Senior 1 league football.

Since then Donabate's fortune's have dipped somewhat despite the appointment of well established names in Alan Durnin and former Wicklow footballer Kevin O'Brien, with the latter guiding them to the Intermediate Championship Final against St Vincents a number of seasons back.

However, Pat's have suffered a number of disappointments along the way, most notably in the championship where they suffered extra-time defeats to St Judes and Ballyboughal.

St Pat's had fancied themselves to get the better of Ballyboughal last season given that Ballyboughal's star player Gerry Seaver had gone into the game carrying an injury.

However, Ballyboughal would finally get the better of them after more than two hours of football spread over two action-packed games.

Nonetheless, there is optimism that Donabate are going in the right direction both on and off the field. The opening of their new club pitch last season was an exciting development for the club.

In addition, the likes of Dylan Knight, Sean Walsh and Matthew Molloy are all starting to mature up front, while Darren Maher has established himself as a defender of some renown with both the Dublin Minor and Under-20 teams.

As such, Roche will have plenty of talent to work with as he attempts to move Donabate forward.

Elswehere, Paul Cowley takes over from Damien Clarke at St Margarets, while the Kavanagh brothers Conor and Adrian will again be at the helm for Naomh Mearnog along with Ireland Under 20 strength and conditioning coach Damien Doyle.

Meanwhile, Pat Hoyne will take over from Declan McGrath as manager of St Sylvester's hurlers for this season.

The Malahide side will be hoping to improve on last season when they just about managed to stay up in Division 2, albeit in the absence of key forward Dan Murphy.

Fingal Independent