Dessie Dolan admitted when Westmeath came to call, he simply couldn’t turn it down as he was preparing to take his first steps in running inter-county football.
Dolan, 43, was still playing for his club, Jarcastle, until last year, but had been serving as a pick under John Cooney, who departed to take on the role of national player development leader at Croke Park.
Connie Lachman drove To the inaugural Tailteann Cup Back in July.
Speaking to the RTÉ GAA Podcast about his appointment, Dolan said his deep love for the interprovincial environment made it an easy decision.
“Intervenes [as a sector] Last year with Jack Cooney, I coped well with the boys.
“I haven’t played inter-county since 2014 and got back involved with Westmeath, perhaps realizing the fun and satisfaction I was getting from being with a team in an inter-county environment, and being involved in it.
“Having a good year with Jack and working with Jack, who was a mentor, was so much fun. I was as surprised as anyone else when we got the news that Jack had to leave the job.
“Chance for itself, maybe the players were eager to have a bit of continuity, so I just stepped into the role as a result. I’m kind of confident with that since I have a lot of good people around when I’m at Westmeath. I’m my best friend with John Kane. [who also served as a selector under Cooney] For a very long time and has great coaching experience.
“Players S and C are amazing, and the whole back room team. That’s really why I did it…Continuity is a big factor. There are two players that are probably 30, 31, 32 – (we want to) give another chance to go forward and see what we can achieve with Westmeath. “.
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Dolan does not envision drastic changes. He wants continuity and consistency, although he wouldn’t rule out bringing in a new sound just to keep players alert.
“One thing that Jack enjoys very much is creating a culture and environment where boys can excel and enjoy themselves. That is the real secret of success. You try to make it as happy camp as possible because there are a lot of pressures and strains on young boys nowadays.”
“It will be pretty much the same way. At the same time I will probably look for another coach just to add to it.
“The market place was hit by a lot of good coaches when Mayo got Kevin McStay because he took the majority of them!
“You just need diversity. The only thing I have noticed with the management at the county level is, there are expectations from the players out there. You have to give them different ideas. I will look to add something in that regard.”
Dolan was generous in his praise of departing Kony, who provided decades of service to the county as a player, selector under Luke Dempsey and Peddy C, and finally as a manager.
Desi Dolan, director of New Westsmith, said his long playing career delayed his transition to coaching, but he tasted it under Jack Kony.
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“He has a great way with the players, and a good relationship,” Dolan added.
“He’s a great coach, a great teacher and a great farmer. He’s done so much for Westsmith. I had the opportunity to participate and it’s very difficult for your country to turn down.
“I have always been very committed to football my whole life. I think the inter-county environment is what works for me. I enjoy going to training. I enjoy being first there, I enjoy being the last to leave. I enjoy the company of the boys and the fun you can have with them.
“It’s a very good opportunity to pass. If someone comes along and wants you to run the county team, and you’re so interested in football and that’s your passion, I don’t think you can let it pass so to be honest.”
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