New Longford Senior manager Jack Sheedy was an interested spectator at Longford Slashers’ Leinster Club game with Rathnew on Sunday.
It wasn’t his first time watching club football in Longford having attended games before he was announced as manager last month.
Speaking to the Leader he admitted he is pleased with the players at his disposal: “There are the marquee players who we all know about but I also saw players who have potential. Between that and what’s coming through from the U21s and this year’s minor team there is a lot of scope there for development. We can work with those guys and hopefully develop them into senior players quicker.”
As well as being Senior manager Sheedy will also take charge of the U21s. This is something that pleased him: “To have the U21s under the same umbrella was important for me. My desire to have the 21s as well was to develop them into senior players in a more streamlined fashion.”
The new boss is under no illusions of how tough things will be in his first year at inter-county management. After being relegated from Division 2, Longford will face formidable opposition in Division 3 next year: “You look at the fixtures we have in Division 3 and it’s tough, there is no two ways about it,” said Sheedy.” You have some very strong teams who have operated at higher levels in the last few years. You only have to look at what Cavan done in the Championship; they’d a very strong campaign. There is no hiding from the fact that it will be tough. If we can build on what we have achieved with the 21s this year and encourage more of the senior lads in the squad and energise them; certainly the players are there if we can get that altogether and step it on.”
Sheedy has yet to finalise his backroom staff but revealed a few names that he will be working with: “Frank McNamee and Liam Belton will be a big part of what’s happening over the next year. Barry Horgan and Paddy O’Connor will have the strength and conditioning responsibilities. There will be a few other people attached to the whole support set-up to develop things as we go forward.”
After that backroom staff is sorted the former Dublin player is looking forward to putting his panel of players together. He knows what he wants from players and hoping they buy into that:
“Longford is a passionate county. I want to give everyone the opportunity. When we speak to the clubs and they come back to me with guys they feel are worthy of the opportunity, we will give them the opportunity. We want guys to put their hands up and say ‘give me a shot at it because I want to have a go at this.’ I want guys who want to play for Longford, not Longford footballers. That’s a very important aspect of the whole thing.”