We are delighted to be able to reveal the all-new Under 20s coaching and management group for the coming season.
DLSP FC Director of Rugby Norman Byrne with U20 Head Coach Conor Holland
Conor Holland will lead the group as Head Coach. Conor has extensive experience, both as a player – most recently being a key part of the DLSP squad that won Leinster League 2A last season – and as a coach, having led the rugby programme in Benildus College for the last 5 years and as Head Coach of the Trinity 3rd XV who won a Metro League and Cup double last season.
U20 Assistant Coach Kevin O'Neill with DLSP FC Director of Rugby Norman Byrne
Kevin O’Neill will act as Assistant Coach to Conor and will have specific responsibility for the forwards. Kevin has been a DLSP man since playing mini-rugby many years back and captained the club to last season’s league title. A De La Salle College Churchtown past pupil, Kevin has assisted numerous age grade teams in both the school and the college over the years. He is currently coaching in the Leinster ‘School of Excellence’ summer programme.
Conor and Kevin will be ably supported by a number of Salmo men with lengthy experience in rugby and in DLSP:
Gavin Stokes will work with Kevin and the forwards, having carried out a similar role with the Salmo squad that is now ‘graduating’ to Under 20s.
Dave Lillis is taking on the mantle of Manager to the group – Dave is a former President of Salmo and was latterly part of the senior squad management team.
Adam Weatherley will provide ongoing support to the group in a dual capacity with the Under 18.5 squad, having worked with Gavin to develop many of the Under 20s players over many years.
Jack Grant, the club’s Assistant Head of Athletic Development, will have specific responsibility for the individual and collective S&C work.
Finally, Conor will report directly into DLSP Director of Rugby, Norman Byrne.
Director of Rugby for DLSP FC, Norman Byrne commented: "I am delighted that we have assembled such a high-quality group of coaches, managers and supports for the coming season’s Under 20 squad. In the first instance, having an Under 20 group is an essential and highly-valued element of our overall club strategy – transitioning from age grade rugby into the adult section and hopefully then progressing into our senior adult teams.
"It’s also a huge opportunity for players to play with their peers and pals, as one group, before they move on to different things. This group of coaches and managers will provide the players with a fun, challenging, rewarding and positive rugby environment and I’ve no doubt that they will have a really great season. I look forward to giving them my full support and that of the wider club.
"Conor and Kevin are the ideal candidates for the Head Coach and Assistant Coach roles and I’m both really pleased and appreciative that they are taking the roles on. Having worked closely with both in various guises over the last number of years, I know first-hand the high standards, work ethic and commitment that they will bring to bear with the Under 20s. Dave will be a huge support to them behind the scenes and I know he’s very excited about the role.
"I’d like to take the opportunity to say a particular "thank you" to both Gavin and Adam for bringing so many players through the Salmo age grade programme and keeping them with us so that they are now moving into our Under 20s. The level of dedication and commitment to the club and, more importantly, to all these young players over many years has been incredible."
Conor Holland, U20 Head Coach said: "It’s both a pleasure and a privilege for me to be taking up this role. Having had the pleasure of playing with the senior squad over recent years, I’m delighted to be able to repay the time invested in me by the club by working with the Salmo Under 20s this season. I believe that Under 20 rugby is both an integral stepping stone into the adult game and an opportunity to play with the freedom of expression that is synonymous with the under age game.
"As a coaching group, we hope and intend to give the players the tools they need to improve individually and collectively while also enjoying their rugby every time they put on their boots. Working with Kevin is a very exciting prospect for me – he brings a wealth of knowledge of the game and is hugely passionate about DLSP – and I know that Dave, Gavin and Adam will be huge support to us also. We are already well into the planning stages for the season ahead and I can’t wait for pre- season training to kick off!"
Kevin O'Neill, U20 Assistant Coach added: "I’m likewise really excited about this role and feel privileged to be in a position to give back to the club after all the support I have had, on and off the field in Salmo over the years of playing. It’s a really great challenge ahead to get the next bunch of players ready to progress into the senior teams and one that I’m really looking forward to.
"It’s great to have such an experienced Head Coach to be working with and great people supporting us in the wider support group and I’ll be leaning heavily on Gavin’s and Adam’s experience and understanding of the players."
New players of all abilities are more than welcome to join and can do so by contacting either Gavin or Dave on the contact details below.
Gavin Stokes: 087-958-1766 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Lillis: 087-227-7600 email@example.com
Squad Email: firstname.lastname@example.org