Coach Focus With Former Harps Striker Davitt Walsh

1) Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a former Finn Harps player and current 2011 coach with Finn Harps Academy. My fellow coaches are Mathew Crossan and Mark Forker. Both former teammates and very close friends. I also coach the ATU Donegal football team along with manager Shane Byrne, Bosco Gallagher and the legend Tommy Harkin. I love to golf and love everything outdoors.  Being from Kerrykeel it was great to see another Kerrykeel man (Aaron McLaughlin) score last week against Treaty. I hope it’s the first of many!

2) What attracted you to a coaching role with Harps and what do you look to bring to the role?

When Kevin initially approached me about getting ex players involved in the academy set up I wasn’t sure. But once I heard the enthusiasm Kevin spoke with and his vision he had for the academy I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it, work with Kevin and to coach the best young players in the county. I believe in developing young people through football, trying to help maximise their potential. Not just as aspiring footballers but most importantly instilling good values to enhance their personal growth throughout their lives.

3)  Tell about your history with Finn Harps?

Earliest memory

My earliest memory of Finn Harps was the playoff games in 2003 against Derry. Kevin scoring and doing the greyhound celebration!

Favourite players

Favourite players would have been, Johnny Speak, Anthony Gorman and Paddy ‘Rivaldo’ McGrenaghan.

Favourite thing about match day

Favourite thing about match day was getting the programme and a cup of tea from club stalwart Ann Kelly. The smell of fresh cut grass then the nerves and anticipation of the game to follow.

Favourite away ground

Favourite away ground is Brandywell, can’t beat the buzz of derby days.

Favourite moment

Favourite moment, there is two. First is a personal one, scoring a hat trick for Harps.

And my younger brother Liam Walsh pulling on the blue jersey for Harps was another proud moment.

How do you want to see the club and the academy develop in the coming years?

Obviously I would love to see the club in a new stadium. Hopefully this comes to fruition soon. Dave’s vision for Finn harps in developing young players and building a team that is sustainable that can complete at the top level of league of Ireland football consistently is what all Finn harps fans want. I believe in the work Dave, Murph and Kevin are doing. And with patience this can come a reality. Dave has handed out quite a few debuts since taking charge. Which is fantastic from an academy perspective. So he believes in the talent we have in Donegal. There is a pathway there now for young academy players that wasn’t there before. As long as young players continue to get opportunities from the academy, Kevin, myself and all the Finn Harps academy staff will be doing their job.

Favourite thing about living in Donegal and a ‘saying’ you’d only hear in Finn Park…  

Donegal is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I was lucky enough to travel and we don’t know how lucky we are, it’s only when you are away do you realise this. The people and the scenery is second to none. And the golf courses are not so bad either!

I remember there used to be a shout from the Finn Harps fans back in the day. Someone would shout ‘Get Paddy Rivaldo on’ then another supporter would shout ‘he is on’ then the retort would be ‘well get him off then’.  Don’t think you hear that anywhere else.