GAA Football

Respected rugby coach Andre Quinn appointed Cavan's head of athletic performance

County Down man Andre Quinn has spent 11 years working as a strength and conditioning coach in professional rugby across the water
Neil Loughran

A COUNTY Down man with a strong rugby background has been appointed as Cavan’s new head of athletic performance, and is to begin work with the Breffnimen later this month.

Warrenpoint native Andre Quinn is returning from England, where he has spent 11 years working as a strength and conditioning coach in professional rugby – nine-and-a-half seasons with London Irish across two spells, with one-and-a-half seasons at Harlequins in between.

It is a major statement of intent for Cavan as they bid to bridge the gap in Ulster, having gone 21 years without landing a provincial title at senior level, bowing out meekly to Donegal at the start of the summer.

Former Cavan forward Michael Graham has since replaced Mattie McGleenan in the hot-seat, after the ex-Tyrone star led them back up to Division One during his final year in charge.

Graham has previously managed the county minors and has had success at club level in Cavan, winning junior and intermediate titles with Butlersbridge and Drumalee.

He also enjoyed club success with Mullinalaghta in Longford, winning back-to-back senior titles in 2016 and 2017.

Despite considerable underage success earlier in the decade, including an Ulster minor title in 2011 and four U21 crowns between 2011 and 2014, Cavan’s potential has yet to be realised at senior level.

And while Quinn will liaise closely with Graham as the Breffnimen prepare for life back among the big boys in Gaelic football’s top tier, the 34-year-old will also be responsible for the delivery/management of athletic performance of county teams from U14 up to U20 level as well.

He is expected to work closely with Cavan games development officer Dermot McCabe. The former Allstar is part of Graham’s backroom team, alongside Monaghan man Martin Corey.

Cavan’s Division One campaign starts off with a difficult trip away to All-Ireland semi-finalists Galway on January 27 before welcoming Kerry to Kingspan Breffni Park the following weekend.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom have named Armagh man Jason McGahan as their first full-time head of athletic development.

The Tullysaran man, a former Armagh underage player, will be overseeing the strength and conditioning for the senior footballers under the new management team headed by Peter Keane.

Like Quinn in Cavan, the 40-year-old will also be responsible for the underage teams right down to the underage development squads, operating out of the €8million centre excellence in Currans.

Sports science specialist McGahan has spent the last three years working alongside Cian O’Neill with the Kildare footballers - although this latest appointment marks a return to the Kingdom where he was previously involved under Eamonn Fitzmaurice when O’Neill was the Finuge man’s assistant.

He joins Keane, coach Donie Buckley and selectors Maurice Fitzgerald, James Foley and Tommy Griffin on the sideline as Kerry bid to close the gap on all-conquering Dublin, who appointed former captain Bryan Cullen to a similar role nearly three years ago.

Jim Gavin’s men begin the year with their sights set firmly on a fifth All-Ireland title in-a-row, while Kerry bid to bring Sam Maguire back to the Kingdom for the first time since 2014.

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