DONEGAL GAA

Kevin Lyons on the move again as he takes over at Tir Chonaill Park in Donegal Town

Kilcar man has moved up a division after looking after Naomh Ultan in 2017

Tom Comack

Reporter:

Tom Comack

Kevin Lyons on the move again as he takes over at Tir Chonaill Park in Donegal Town

Former Kilcar player and now coach Kevin Lyons is on the move again and was installed last week as manager of Four Masters in Donegal Town.

After a number of years coaching at underage with his home club and an unsuccessful bid for the big job in Kilcar, the stylish wing-back made the big move last year.

He took on the manager’s role at Naomh Ultan. And a year on having cut his teeth in Division Three of the All-County Football League, he is moving up a division. Four Masters played in the top division last season, but along with Bundoran made the drop down to the second tier, at the end of the season.

“I had a great season with Naomh Ultan. But it was always only going to be for one year” said Kevin.

“I met a lot of good people at the club and made a lot of friends. They were a good bunch of players and I enjoyed working with them and I departed on good terms and I wish them well in 2018.

“They have a number of very talented players and they have Alan Lyons up with the county squad.

“Alan is a very good footballer and from what I hear he is going very well with the county. He was unfortunate that he suffered a bad injury at the wrong time in his playing career.

“He had been making development and county squads right up along to minor and U-21 but then he suffered the injury and it really set him back.

“But he is back playing well again with the club and I’m delighted he has been noticed by Declan Bonner and is being given a chance.

“He has a lot of work to build up fitness and stamina but from what I hear he is putting in a big effort.

“I would love to see him make it because I think he is good enough. He is 24, the same age as Patrick McBrearty, and he would have been in county underage squads with Patrick right up through the age groups.”

Lyons, a championship winner with Kilcar in 1993, had enjoyed his season with Naomh Ultan.

But he had retreated back to Kilcar with no set plan other than to do some coaching with the club at underage, as he has done for the best part of the last 20 years.

But the chance to manage Four Masters was just too big a chance to turn up his nose at. The pull was too great.

“Four Masters first approached me the week before Christmas and I met up with a number of officials from the club.

“They told me what they were looking for and I outlined my thoughts on the game and how it should be played.

“I went away and thought about it for a week and we met a second time the following week and I agreed to take on the job.

“I’m really looking forward to the job. Four Masters are a big club; when I was growing up and going to matches in the 1980s, they were one of the top teams in the county.

“They won a couple of championships in the ‘80s and were always competing at the latter stages of the championship.

“They have produced great footballers down the years. In recent years they had Karl Lacey - one of the best footballers in the country - Paul Durcan, Barry Dunnion, Barry Monaghan and there were others before those players.

“They seem to have lost their way in recent seasons and that is the challenge to build them back up again.”

Four Masters have been yo-yoing up and down between Division One and Two in recent seasons and will ply their trade in the second division in 2018.

However, Four Masters are a club who harbour notions of being a top flight club; and a return to the top division will be high on the new management’s agenda.

But the new man also issues a word of warning on promotion and playing in the county’s top flight.

“Division One is a very competitive division and there is no point in going up if you are not fit to compete and stay up once you go up.

“Of course promotion would be a goal. But we also must take stock and make sure that we build a team that is going to be able to compete when they do go up.

“Besides Division Two is very competitive. Looking at the teams in the division they are very even and there is very little between them. It certainly won’t be an easy division to get out of.”

Kevin is currently putting the finishing touches to finalising a management team which he hopes to have completed in the next few days.

“I’m nearly there. I more or less have a team in place; it is just a matter of tying up a few loose ends before it is announced.”

He hasn’t met the players yet either but plans on doing so in the next couple of weeks once the management is finalised.

“It’s a long year and there is no point in getting down to training too early. There is chat of the league starting earlier this year and there has been a mention of a middle of March start.

“The middle of March date is subject to the availability of pitches. But if it is a case that the league starts in March we are going to have to get down to training in the next couple of weeks.”