The Dunderry duo of Sean Kelly and Barry Callaghan have stepped into the breach and assumed control of the county’s U-20 football team in the wake of the departure of Bernard Flynn and his backroom team from their roles last week.
Both men enjoyed decorated careers in green and gold during their playing days – albeit the two of them were forced to retire relatively early having been similarly blighted by injuries. Kelly cut his management teeth by guiding his native club to three consecutive Meath U-21 FC titles before going on to work very successfully alongside Dudley Farrell and Sean Barry with Meath Minor and U-21 teams prior to being involved with a couple of county senior regimes.
Kelly has also brought success to several club sides throughout Meath, including being involved with Keegan Cup triumphs for both Navan O’Mahony’s (2008) and St Peter’s, Dunboyne (2018). Barry Callaghan has worked extensively with underage teams at inter-county level in recent seasons, where he was joined by former teammates Darren Fay and Paddy Reynolds, while he also briefly acted as part of the Meath senior management team alongside Liam Harnan in conjunction with Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney before both All Ireland winners hastily vacated their roles. Something which has disappointingly raised its head on a few occasions in the last decade or so.
Reynolds will again link up with his erstwhile playing colleague and the former Christian Brother as the newly installed ensemble is completed by former county forwards Stephen Bray (O’Mahony’s) and Paddy Gilsenan (Oldcastle).
Focus now must switch to matters on the field. At the time of typing, the Royal County do not know who or when they play in the U-20 FC, their schedule in the competition dependent on the fate of John McCarthy’s U-17 side who ply their much delayed 2020 Leinster MFC Final against Offaly on June 30th n Mullingar. Should the youngsters triumph, the older age group will take to the field on July 15, though they will be pressed into action a week sooner if McCarthy’s men lose out to the Faithful County.
Either way, the U-20s should have a very talented bunch of footballers with which to work. They should be quite capable of making a significant impact in the championship. Which would be a huge and timely boost for football in the county.