Coaches' Insight | WU19 Head Coach Dave Connell
Name: Dave Connell
Role: Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-19 Head Coach
Started the role: 2011
Limerick FC Head Coach
Galway United FC Head Coach
FAI Development Officer
Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-19 Assistant Coach
What is the one key attribute you need as a coach?
The player and coach relationship. There needs to be a mutual respect and mutual pursuit for your goals.
What is your favourite thing about the job?
I enjoy working on the player-coach relationship and establishing a team goal at the start of a campaign. Winning games is nice but my role is very much developing players where, hopefully, they kick on and represent our senior team.
Any pre-match rituals?
I’m not superstitions one bit. I just prepare as best as I can for the game and if we’re prepared right then there’s no need for superstitions.
What one message would you give to a player to keep with them throughout their career?
Never be afraid to make a mistake. Forget the mistake you’ve made and learn the lesson. We’re working with players and developing players and they will make mistakes. It’s trying to get them to forget about that and learn from it for their own progression.
Which coach/manager – from any sport – have you taken your greatest inspiration from?
I admire different coaches from all different sports and cultures but I mainly focus on inspiring myself so I can help inspire the players. I wouldn’t have anyone in particular I look up to but I do admire top coaches from the past but I wouldn’t have a stand-out coach.
Favourite match you coached and why?
Our win over Spain in the 2014 Women’s U19 European Championship Finals. We had Spain, England and Sweden all in our group and we beat the three of them.
Spain were the reigning champions at the time and we went into the game with a couple of weeks’ preparation.
A reporter said to me before the game ‘is there going to be a clash of styles?’ and I said ‘wait and see’. We beat them 1-0 – Claire Shine got the goal that day- and we should have beaten them by more because we played them off the park.
What team or match from any era do you wish you could have coached?
That’s easy for me - the 1970 Brazilian World Cup winning team. It is arguably the best team of all time and it was the first World Cup I remember. Looking at that team I was mesmerised by them and when I got older I did a lot of research into them and the team they were. People see the ‘False Nine’ as a new tactic but it was something they were using then. They were a fantastic team, I would have loved to have worked with that side.