Padraic Davis’s former football manager Declan Rowley believes the Fr. Manning Gaels clubman will do well as manager of the Longford Senior Football team.
Davis was ratified last night at a county board meeting. His backroom team comprises of former Longford players Paul Barden and Donal Ledwith as well as former Galway footballer and Galway minor manager John Donnellan.
Rowley said: “I’m delighted. I think he was the obvious choice and he has earned it. He is passionate. He served his apprentice with Mohill where he won two championships there and was highly regarded there.”
Davis went to the famed St. Mel’s College in Longford and under the guidance of Rowley he won the Leinster Colleges title in 1994. Davis had a long career with Longford as a player where he won the O’Byrne Cup in 2000.
In 2011 he guided Longford to the Leinster U21 Final but they were narrowly beaten by Wexford; they had recorded earlier wins over Meath and Westmeath. A number of those U21 players are playing senior football for Longford. He was a selector alongside Glenn Ryan and managed Longford Juniors.
Rowley believes Davis has it all to be a good manager: “He was involved with the county U21s and would know a lot of these lads back through the years. He is an icon within football in Longford; super player. All of that would add up for me. I think Padraic will do a great job.”
Longford narrowly missed out on promotion to Division 2 this year and were beaten in the Leinster Final by Dublin. Over the last number of years they have taken big scalps in the All-Ireland qualifiers. Rowley said the players are there for Davis: “We have lots of talent. I think the underage system, in particular, has been very good in Longford in the last 10 or 12 years. Per head of population we are doing extremely well when you compare us to other counties.”
Football in Longford is at a good place according to the St. Mel’s College Principal: “
There is a good standard of facilities in the county too and good coaching structures in all the clubs. GAA is hugely important here; it’s a GAA county. There is an awful lot going on and we are producing good players all the time. Our senior champions now are always capable of having a crack at Leinster. That’s all very positive.”
One thing that irks Rowley is the funding that smaller counties like Longford receive, in comparison to the likes of Dublin: “We have to keep getting the best out of the small resources we have but also pump into it. When you see Dublin getting 1.2 million for coaching it should be the other way around. Small counties should be getting a big sum.”