Oisin to crack whip as Rangers boss
Tuesday, 17 December 2013
ONE half of the new Crossmaglen management team, Oisin McConville insists that only hard work can take Rangers back to winning All-Ireland's and he is taking the tough stance of shape up or ship out.
McConville and John McEntee have replaced Joe Kernan and John Donaldson as managers and Oisin is looking forward to the challenge.
The Crossmaglen squad are going on a 10-day holiday to Florida in January and it will be on their return that McConville and McEntee will get to work.
“We are going to let the boys enjoy their holiday and my advise to them is to really enjoy it as it is going to be hard work when they get back and anyone who is not up for hard work will not be part of it. It will be the last supper," said McConville.
“I am just looking forward to getting stuck in. We are going to meet the boys next week and then looking forward to starting training and seeing if we can improve some of the players because that is one of the things we need to do if we want to improve.
“It's a challenge but I know that I am doing for the right reasons and I know that I will give it my all, and hopefully that will get us to where we want to be."
Having only finished his playing career less than a year ago, McConville made no secret of his desire to manage Rangers one day, but he is ready for the long haul and not just a quick fix and after talking to his wife Darina, he had no hesitation throwing his name into the hat after big Joe stepped down.
“While I'm retired from football only seven months, it feels much longer if I am honest.
“Even when I talked it over with my wife she said that I am at my most happiest when I am at football and she would rather see me doing that than something else.
“People see it as a great job and we would agree with that. We are passionate about the club and we know most of the boys inside out and I think the key thing is to get injuries cleared up and get everybody fit and hopefully we can have a long season, but it is no foregone conclusion.
“We have some good plans, myself and John and of course with Seamie McGeown coming in. But we won't start until February and then we can take it from there."
Managing a club like Cross has its own pressures and expectations unlike most clubs in the country, as a player McConville held a steady nerve to grab many match winning scores and having won six All-Ireland Club Championship titles, 10 Ulster Club Championship winners medals and 16 Armagh Club Championships with Rangers, McConville is well aware what it takes to succeed.
“I suppose there is a lot of pressure with the job because everyone expects you to win an Armagh Club Championship, that's always a given, they then expect you to go on and win an Ulster title and challenge for All-Ireland honours.
“Obviously that is our goal - our goal is to win all those things - but the reality is that there is a lot of hard work required to get there.
“But myself and John will work well together and of course Seamie knows so much about this club."
Having played alongside many of the players he will now manage, McConville doesn't expect many difficulties in the dynamics of the transition from team-mate to boss, although when there are only 15 starting positions, it won't be possible to keep all the players happy.
But McConville isn't expecting too much trouble.
“You would imagine there won't be but I am sure that issues will come up during the year, but you just got to deal with them as they come and hope that people understand that you are doing things for the right reason, I am sure that won't always be the case.
“But I have to live with that, learn from it and we are going into this job with our eyes open. We are not green or under any illusions we - know how tough it is going to be," he said.
Obviously the main aim is to get all the injured players fit and challenging for places again. Currently Aaron Kernan, Ronan Finnegan, James Morgan and David McKenna are on the treatment table, but by the time the Championship comes around, McConville is confident he can have a full deck to choose from, especially with full-back Paul Kernan returning from Australia.
And McConville revealed that Johnny Murtagh may return to Crossmaglen after playing for Dublin's Na Fianna and that Franny Hanratty is also welcome back.
“Franny is a player we have obviously got to talk to and see if he is interested in coming back or not. If he is then the door will be certainly open for him because he is a quality player.
“At club level you have got to take everyone with you as we learned this year.
“When you seen Cross this year when we had so many injuries we know that we are going to need every individual and them going at a decent pace.
“Dublin won an All-Ireland this year because they had a good squad and Ballinderry won the Ulster Championship for the same reason, and I think Kilcoo beat Cross because they had a better squad.
“Johnny Murtagh has applied for a transfer, I'm not sure if it has gone through or not, but if he is fit and he is willing to put in as much effort as everyone else then he is a player of note that we would obviously be interested in. And that's the key, to get everyone going in the same direction as much as we can."
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