Gearoid Adams appointed Antrim Director of Football
GEAROID Adams has been appointed Antrim’s first director of football with a brief to bring talented players from minor level through to the Saffron senior team.
The long-serving Antrim player and former joint-manager says his basic aim will be put in place a “player pathway” which will develop players with the tools to make an impact at senior level.
“We’re catching up with a few other counties now – the likes of Tyrone and Armagh are doing great work,” said Adams.
“Our hurling counterparts have Neal Peden in there doing sterling work so I’ll be working closely with him and Brendan Murphy among others. We’ll be going in at U17 level to get that pathway which is there in other counties and we’ll start off by taking a small pot of players and bring them through so that by the time they get to U20 and senior level they are ready for the jump physically, mentally, nutritionally… The whole package.”
Identifying talent is an important aspect of Adams’s role but success in the role will be measured by the players he nurtures and develops through the pathway. The passionate Antrim Gael hopes that his county will start seeing the fruits of his labour within the next five years.
“We’re starting off with a smaller group so we can keep that close-knit togetherness and we’ll be able to keep the boys together the whole time,” he said.
“If you’re bringing through decent players into the senior set-up, you know you’re doing a good job. This is the start of the process and I will go and talk to people from other counties and see what they’re doing and what has worked for them.
“In Antrim we have a lot of schools but very few of them play MacRory Cup, we have a lot of schools that play MacLarnon Cup and maybe further down so we’ll be looking at that. We also have Queen’s on our doorstep and Jordanstown and St Mary’s and we don’t always utilise those facilities and we have all that to try and develop.”
Antrim haven’t reached an Ulster minor final since 2006 and last year a promising young Saffrons outfit was mauled in the first round by a talented Donegal side that went on to lose in the decider against eventual champions Tyrone. During his playing days at minor level, Adams was part of an Antrim side that was beaten in an Ulster semi-final replay. However, only a handful of that side ever played at senior level and he hopes that his input will change that ratio.
“There were some really good players in that team but only four or five of us came through to senior. That was down to – I wouldn’t say luck – but it just sort of happened so we want to put a process in now where, if you have a good U17 team like the one we had in Antrim this year which has plenty of potential, you are bringing them through. You don’t want them to get disgruntled, you want to keep them involved as much as possible.”