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Football: DOING THE BUSY-NESS; Heath is best man to fix up old Rec.

Byline: Martin Mawhinney

AMATEUR League strugglers Kilmore Rec have secured the services of one of football's busiest men and the new manager is committed to giving 100 per cent - just as he does in his other jobs.

Seamus Heath had not long returned from the Northern Ireland U-19s qualification for next year's European Championships, before receiving an offer to rejoin his old club after Donal Bell parted company with them.

The assistant manager of the young international side has already had advice from the IFA to cut down on his workload, but Heath is having none of it.

As the main organiser of kids' football training programmes in 20 schools, there is hardly a minute of the day where he isn't involved in football. And that's just how he likes it.

Heath said: "When I was working on the IFA's grassroots programme, they told me to do less, but there are no half measures with me.

"I have been able to make my living in football ever since I was 17, and I am very happy that I have done so."

It was at Luton Town that Heath burst into the world of football, and there too he made the acquaintance of current U-19 manager Mal Donaghy, before playing for Wrexham, Tranmere, various Finnish teams, Glentoran, Distillery, and Cliftonville.

As one of 23 coaches who lost their two-year posts as development officers for the IFA in March, the Kilmore boss was determined to continue his work with schools.

During those two years, Heath worked as a youth development officer for Glenavon, a job that stopped him from working as a full time manager for any other club, under regulations set by the association.

He said: "To me, that was a silly part of our job description. You are basically stopping qualified coaches from bringing as many young players through the system as they can."

Heath has welcomed the imminent reappointment of Youth Development Officers and is waiting to apply.

This time, the IFA have granted permission for any applicants to maintain managers' posts while working under the scheme.

At the same time, though, Heath wants to make it clear to Kilmore Rec fans that his duties outside the club will not have a detrimental effect on their season.

He continued: "I'll be there for the training twice a week and I'll be at the matches, and I'm going to get them a bit better organised and a bit more disciplined.

"In the two games that I've been in charge, I've kept the same 14 boys that were there before. The players here have good ability, character, and the confidence to make sure we get up that table sooner rather than later.

"I like hard working, honest players, who want to give a good account of themselves, and I think I already have plenty of those now.

"There is no way in this world that Kilmore will go down. If that did happen this season, I think I would have to give football up for good."

Fans have good reason to believe what Heath says. After all, he's been here before.

Five years ago, the club were in the same position in the Premier Section, and Heath came in to lift his local club to safety, giving Donal Bell an encouraging base to work with.

And Bell did just that, pushing Kilmore to even greater heights, building them into a formidable team collecting the Border and Clarence Cups.

Yet, as he looks ahead to his second rescue bid, Heath wonders if those cup runs were a mixed blessing.

He said: "You could say they've been a victim of their own success. Sometimes, when you do well in the cup competitions, it can be easy to forget that the league is the bread and butter."

But hindsight is a great thing, and Heath admits that he too has had to change his attitude since his last short spell in charge at Kilmore.

"When I was last here, I was coming from a professional background, and expecting far too much from amateur players. You have to remember that these men are doing a hard day's work, then coming down to do a bit of training twice a week, and for a lot of clubs they don't even have decent facilities.

"We lost 2-1 against Ballinamallard in the Intermediate Cup at the weekend, and usually I'd have been cracking up, but yesterday I told them how delighted I was."

CAPTION(S):

NEW CHAPTER: Seamus reads his son Nathan a bedtime story; COACHING MANUAL: Kilmore Rec boss Seamus brings his daughter Jade to book; ONE-ON-ONE: Seamus Heath gives his son Nathan footie lessons
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 29, 2005
Words:778
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