Interviews with club committee members

Paul Cleary (Chairman)

Q1. What’s your favourite team? And who is/was your favourite player?
Leeds United. My favourite players were George Best and Pele.

Q2. What is/are your role(s) at the club? And since when?
I joined the club in 1996 when I brought Robert down to join a team. I met Gay O’Gorman, who said he could join and so could I because they needed a manager for this new team. Colm Elliott, another parent, who’s son Aidan was also joining the team and between us we started a team. In 2001, I became chairperson of the club and continue to hold that position. I am also a child welfare officer, the club Liasion Officer and part of the coaching/management for the Senior Saturday team. I have been involved with a team since I joined the club.

Q3. What does your role(s) involve?
As chairperson, I have ultimate responsibility for the safety and welfare of the children and all those who volunteer in the club. I chair the club committee meetings to ensure we are on a financially sound footings and the club is abiding by the rules as laid down by the governing body. I assist and advise the various members of the committee where situations arise or key decisions need to be made or approved. The chairperson can been seen as a key person in the club but he or she is only as good as the great people around the club from the volunteers, team coaches and to the committee members who all have key roles and responsibilities also.

Q4. How did you get involved with the club?
I wanted my son to play for the club.

Q5. What pleases you most about the club?
I have lots of great memories with the club. I met some wonderful people, made great friends, we also lost great people who were taken from this world too soon. I think the securing of lottery funding, approved planning permission and the building of the clubhouse without the need to borrow funding was a great achievement. This was made possible by the fantastic people who fund raised for such a project before my time in the club. The Club of the Year Award 2013, the introduction of the Football for All programme, the success of the Academy. The ex-players who have moved on and playing at a very high level have remembered where it all started. What pleases me most is the volunteers who do great work weekly, the players who represent the club so well, to the most senior players who have stuck with the club and the progress the club has made with the coach/player education and development programme currently in place.

Vanessa O’Donnell (11-a-side Secretary)

Q1. What’s your favourite team? And who is/was your favourite player?
Liverpool FC and Steven Gerrard.

Q2. What is/are your role(s) at the club? And since when?
Club Secretary since 2013.

Q3. What does your role(s) involve?
My role is vast and branches off into many different aspects of the running of the club. One of my main jobs is to communicate between the leagues and other clubs to facilitate the playing of fixtures for our teams.

Q4. How did you get involved with the club?
I wanted to be involved and give something back to the community and the perfect opportunity came along when my son joined the Esker Celtic Academy in 2008. His team were looking for an assistant, so I stepped forward and never looked back. Shay McCarthy was also a big influence on me getting involved in the club, he set so many people on their incredible Esker journey from players to coaches alike and I was no different.

Q5. What pleases you most about the club?
The wonderful spirit of ‘all are welcome’ ranging from our Football for All programme to our Academy and right through to our Senior teams.

Garrett O’Donnell (Academy Director and Football Committee member)

Q1. What’s your favourite team? And who is/was your favourite player?
Liverpool FC. Favourite player is a difficult one to pick as growing up I was spoiled with the likes of Dalglish, Souness, Rush, Fowler etc. but overall I would have to say Stephen Gerrard.

Q2. What is/are your role(s) at the club? And since when?
I am currently Director of the Esker Celtic Academy, a role I’ve held since 2014 and one that I am really passionate about and dedicated to and find it extremely rewarding. I am also assistant coach of our U16 Major squad, another role I’m really enjoying & also a member of the Football Committee.

Q3. What does your role(s) involve?
As Academy Director, my role is to ensure over the course of a season that our young stars are being coached the skills to aid their development in the correct manner as per the FAI guidelines in a safe, fun and structured environment.

Q4. How did you get involved with the club?
Through my great friend Shay McCarthy!! When my son Sam came of age to join an football academy, Esker was sold to me by Shay as the “best club in West Dublin!!!”. I soon began helping with coaching within the Academy and when my son Sam was ready to go on to a team, the club approached me to manage the squad. Best decision I ever made.

Q5. What pleases you most about the club?
How much the club has developed in the 12 short years since I’ve been a member both on and off the pitch. This was made possible by some wonderful people in the background working together sharing the same vision for our great club.
Also, how successful our Academy has been in recent years with the quality players our team of coach’s are developing year on year preparing them for mainstream football. We feel as a club if we get it right at Academy level, it’s a great start to their schoolboy football pathway.

Marian McCabe (Small Sided Game Secretary)

Q1. What’s your favourite team?
Can’t say I have one, but will probably let Vanessa (O’Donnell) down if I don’t say Liverpool!

Q2. What is/are your role(s) at the club? And since when?
I have been Small Side Game Secretary for the past 18 months or so, and committee member before that – since around 2016 I think!? I am losing track of time in my old age!

Q3. What does your role(s) involve?
Working with Vanessa (club secretary) to make sure games for U8 to U11 age groups are confirmed each week and I also help out with Child Protection and Garda Vetting arrangements. Happy to support Vanessa where ever else needed.

Q4. How did you get involved with the club?
My son joined the Academy, I got to know Vanessa and the rest is history. Have you ever tried saying ‘No’ to Vanessa? 😂

Q5. What pleases you most about the club?
There is no way I would be involved with the club or have my son involved if I wasn’t happy that it is a very well-run club with the players’ best interests at heart. I see first hand the amount of work that Vanessa, Garrett (O’Donnell), the committee, all coaches and volunteers do for each and every player in the club. It is a brilliantly run club with children’s welfare and football at its very heart.

Keith Nolan (Web developer and IT)

Q1. What’s your favourite team? And who is/was your favourite player?
I have never been a fan of top level football, so I have never liked a particular team or player.

Q2. What is/are your role(s) at the club? And since when?
I have been a coach in the Academy, Football For All and Frame Football. I was a player in the club for 10 years and a coach for 10 years. On the committee, I am responsible for the IT side of the club.

Q3. What does your role(s) involve?
As a coach in Frame Football, I am responsible for a team of very dedicated coaches who are very passionate about Frame Football. I am responsible from communicating with the parents of the players and ensuring the coaches have all that they need to do their job effectively. On the committee, I am responsible for the website and IT communication in the club. I also have an input into the social media aspect of the club.

Q4. How did you get involved with the club?
It was a natural progression I suppose. My dad gave up his time to coach in the club and I said I should give back to the community and so I decided to get involved coaching.

Q5. What pleases you most about the club?
Seeing the young players come off the training pitch or matches with smiles on their faces. If we, as a club, can make sure that every player goes home happy, then I am happy.

Aron Hegarty (PR and Communication Officer)

Q1. What’s your favourite team? And who is/was your favourite player?
Nottingham Forest – someone has to! The story of Brian Clough inspired me.
Jack Lester (attacking midfielder / striker) – not the most talented or gifted, but I have never seen a harder working player. He would run his socks off and always gave it his all. Can’t ask for more than that.

Q2. What is/are your role(s) at the club? And since when?
I am the PR and Communication Officer for Esker Celtic Football Club since February 2020.

Q3. What does your role(s) involve?
My role involves sharing club news, developing the club’s social media platforms and promoting the club both internally and externally.

Q4. How did you get involved with the club?
I saw the club were advertising the position through volunteer.ie at the end of 2019. I was looking to build up my work experience in the field and saw the role as a great way of doing that. My details were passed on to Paul Cleary and Vanessa O’Donnell, whom I later met at the club and agreed to take on the role in principal prior to being sworn in at the club AGM in February.

Q5. What pleases you most about the club?
I haven’t been at the club for very long, but I am impressed by how welcome I am made feel. There is an appreciation from club members for those who give up their spare time to help out. They also acknowledge and are grateful for the hard work, effort and contribution of others to promoting the club.

Stephen Curran (Covid-19 Compliance Officer and General Committee Member)

Q1. What’s your favourite team? And who is/was your favourite player?
Manchester United. Past Eric Cantona. Current Cristiano Ronaldo.

Q2. What is/are your role(s) at the club?
I have been a committee member for years now. My duties have included PR, social media plus advising the club on Health and Safety matters. Now as a Covid-19 Compliance Officer (CCO), my role is to ensure that the guidelines set out as part of the FAI protocols are adhered to by all involved within the club.

Q3. What does your role(s) involve?
As part of the FAI Safer Return to Training Protocol, every club must appoint a CCO. The measures recommended by the FAI is primarily about getting players back playing football in a safe and controlled environment. As a club, we are committed to getting our players and coaches back, however, everyone involved with the club has a part to play. This has been a difficult time and the committee have worked very hard behind the scenes. We are taking a controlled approach to ensure the health and well-being of all those involved with our club.

Q4. How did you get involved with the club?
We had moved to the Lucan area and I recall ringing the club to see if I could get my eldest son (Finn) into the Esker Academy. I spoke to “Shay McCarthy” on the phone who agreed to take Finn into the Academy. I knew Shay very well from my childhood, his grandmother lived next door to our house. Shay often visited his grandmother and when he did we would hang around together. Anyway when I brought Finn up to register for the Academy, needless to say it was great to put a familiar face to the name after all those years. That day, Shay didn’t just get a player for the Academy, he got a coach too. His legacy will always remain with Esker Celtic and it’s great to see his boys follow suit!

Q5. What pleases you most about the club?
In my opinion it’s volunteers. Without the hard work of the volunteers; the coaches, the committee, the maintenance team, kids would not be playing football. The work that goes into the Academy is phenomenal and is the heartbeat of the club.

Brian Flynn (General Committee member)

Q1. What’s your favourite team? And who is/was your favourite player?
Favourite team is Leeds United and my favourite player is Lionel Messi.

Q2. What are your role(s) at the club? And since when?
I joined Esker in 2013 and managed a team from U9 through to U14.

Q3. What does your role(s) involve?
I have been a Committee member since 2017. Duties include discussions on communication, finance, coaching, general football matters and the day-to-day running of the club.

Q4. How did you get involved with the club?
My son’s team were looking for a manager and I decided to give it a go.

Q5. What pleases you most about the club?
Esker Celtic is not just about the Saturday and Sunday teams – the Academy, Frame Football and Football For All are just as important. It’s inclusive, affordable and enjoyable.

Stephen Morris (General Committee member)

Q1. What’s your favourite team? And who is/was your favourite player?
My favourite team is Liverpool and my favourite player (apart from my son) is Andrew Roberton and my all time favourite is Kenny Daglish.

Q2. What does your role(s) involve?
My role as a General Club Committee member is to discuss issues from financial to coaching and other day-to-day issues within the club with other Committee members and try to resolve them.

Q3. How did you get involved with the club?
I got involved in 2008 through the Academy. The late Shay McCarthy (RIP) persuaded me to help out. I then ran a team with one son and assistant with the other son’s team, helped other coaches and was then on the Committee for 5 years.

Q4. What pleases you most about the club?
It’s a great community club with great volunteers, who work hard to get kids playing and enjoying football. We always need volunteers to help out and we are always looking for more.

John Moran (General Committee member)

Q1. Which football team do you support? And who is/was your favourite player?
Liverpool FC and Kenny Dalglish.

Q2. What are your role(s) at the club? And since when?
I am a General Committee member since 2018.

Q3. What does your role(s) involve?
Apart from coaching the U11s, I have no specific duties other than attending committee meetings and giving any input as a general committee member.

Q4. How did you get involved with the club?
My eldest son joined back in 2008 and my son’s team needed a coach so I volunteered, he moved teams and I’m still coaching and enjoying every moment.

Q5. What pleases you most about the club?
It’s culture and passion for community and football in general.