Massive coup for Glenanne as O’Donoghue is set to take charge

By Stephen Leonard

GLENANNE Hockey Club have secured a massive coup with the appointment of Ireland Senior international Shane O’Donoghue as Director of Hockey and Head Coach of their Men’s senior team on an initial two-year term.

Ireland’s all-time record goal scorer, O’Donoghue is returning to his boyhood club whom he helped to the Men’s EY Hockey League title in 2018 in between two spells with top Belgian outfit KHC Dragons.

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Ireland’s all-time record goal scorer, Shane O’Donoghue is returning to Glenanne as Director of Hockey and Head Coach of their Men’s senior team

Internationally he has competed at the highest level, including the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as well as the EuroHockey Nations Championships where they won bronze in 2015.

Relishing his latest challenge with Glenanne, O’Donoghue told The Echo “It's a huge honour and privilege to take on such a role and it's something I'm really delighted about.

“I'm just looking forward to whenever it's going to start that I can just sink my teeth into it.

“It's very close to home. It's my boyhood club where I learnt my trade and helped make me the player that I am today so I'm very excited about it.

“This was something that came around only officially in the last week or two and something I definitely want to take a good punt at.

“Both myself and Glenanne are competitive animals, that's always been the case. That drive for top-level success in the sport of hockey in this country.

“It's going to be enjoyable, but we're going to be ambitious, we're going to be competitive, and the more we can build up the training group the better competition we will have internally

“From there we'll be able to put the best team out on the pitch every weekend” he said.

O’Donoghue’s bid for more success with the Tallaght club has been further bolstered by the return of one of Ireland’s top emerging players Sam O’Connor.

“I'm good pals with Sam. He made the move abroad this season to Belgium, but unfortunately it was cut short” said O’Donoghue.

“But he really enjoyed it, he really developed as a player and I'm looking forward to working alongside a friend, but also someone who has half a year's experience of playing professional hockey abroad and playing with some of the best in the world.

“We have a wide array of talents and experience levels and I'm going to avail of all of that and use it to the best of my ability.  I think it's going to be a really successful season” he added.

Preparation for the new campaign may well be seriously hindered by the ongoing Coronavirus crises, yet O’Donoghue is remaining positive.

“It is so uncertain at the moment. Typically we'd tend to go back mid-July/August time. That would be our block where we'd get the pre-season done before the new season starts middle to the end of September.

“There's a big question mark about that at the moment, but hopefully, if things keep improving the way that they are, we'll be able to start as close to the normal starting date as possible.

“I'm going to remain optimistic as are the club and all the clubs in fact.

“By the time July comes around, it will be about four or five months without absolutely no hockey going on and people will be hungrier than ever to get back on a pitch and be active and even be doing some kind of training with a stick and ball.

“It's out of our control, but once we're given the green light we'll be on that pitch” he said.

Delighted at securing the services of one of the country’s top players, Glenanne President, Barbara O’Malley said “We’re delighted to have him back with us.

“He’s returning as player coach and Director of Hockey so he’ll be directing how we play hockey at every level of ability”.

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