Saturday 17 March 2018

I'm out of Wicklow but I'm not finished insists O'Dwyer

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

MICK O’DWYER will leave Wicklow at the end of their championship, irrespective of how they fare over the next few months – and this time his decision is non-negotiable.

“I said at the end of last year that I’d stay one more year. I was planning to get out last year but came under a lot of pressure to stay so I gave in. I’m glad I did but there will be no going back this time. Hopefully, we’ll have a long championship campaign but I’ll be leaving Wicklow after that,” he said.

However, his departure doesn’t necessarily mean the end of his remarkable managerial career. For while he will celebrate his 75th birthday next month, he feels as fresh and enthused as ever.

“I have the same passion for football as I ever had so who knows what the future holds?

There’s an American football coach by the name of Joe Paterno going strong at the age of 84 and he’s still regarded as one of the top men. And wasn’t Alex Ferguson talking of retiring six or seven years ago? He changed his mind and is doing better than ever now.

I can’t see that man stepping down for a good while yet,” said O’Dwyer.

Paterno is head coach with the Penn State Nittany Lions college football team, a position he has held since 1966 and for which he is paid over $1m a year.

O’Dwyer said he never intended to stay with Wicklow for five seasons, but each year provided enough encouragement to tempt him back for another campaign.

“I’m still enjoying it. Wicklow is a great football county and there’s no doubt that solid progress has been made over the last few years. I’m hoping a lot more will be made this summer and, with a bit of luck, I believe it will be. But whenever the campaign ends, I’ll be off. It’s time for someone else to take up the challenge in Wicklow,” he said.

Then, it will be down to getting an old ankle injury sorted out (“it’s been bothering me since 1964”), after which he will decide on his future. “Never say never.

I won’t be making any decisions until later on. All I can definitely say is that I won’t be continuing with Wicklow.”

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