Originally written by Spectator-Observer Partnership
COLERAINE Football Club has re-signed its senior coach, Justin Munro, prior to taking the field in the South West District Football League grand final on Saturday.
The Maroons will face off against Tyrendarra for the second year in a row, hoping to go back-to-back after claiming the champions tag in 2005.
Coleraine FC’s president, Bill Feely, said 2006 had been a great year for the club, with both footy teams and the 13-and-under netballers winning their way through to grand finals.
Munro’s role in Coleraine’s revitalisation since he joined the club has been astronomical.
His “pulling power”, according to Feely, is an invaluable asset.
Right from the beginning of Munro’s reign, when Gareth Egan, a former Hamilton Football Netball Club best-and-fairest winner, was announced as assistant-coach, it has been apparent Munro’s coaching would raise the bar in South West football.
He’s done that. Now, it’s up to other clubs to get on a par with the Maroons, who are quickly establishing a dynasty which isn’t likely to be emulated any time soon.
“Justin has played a big part in our success the last couple of years. He aims high when he sets his goals and he retains them,” Feely said.
“When he first came to Coleraine he wanted to win a flag, he didn’t come for nothing.
“Being originally from Coleraine I’m sure it would be a nice way for Justin to finish his playing career – by stitching up a couple of flags for Coleraine.
“That’s the way it’s worked out and we’re really happy to have him back aboard for next year.”
Munro, who still has close family ties in the town, said it was great to be able to give something back to the club where his career started.
“I played under-18s with Bill Feely as my coach. He’s a great asset, not only for the footy club, but for the entire sporting community in Coleraine.
“Back-to-back would be great, it’s never happened at Coleraine before, so to be a part of history would be really good.”
Some key Munro supporters, his mother and father and his grand-mother all still live in Coleraine. They enjoyed last year no doubt and, like the rest of the town that bands behind its Maroons, have also been thrilled to date in 2006.
Before the 2007 season, however, it’s likely that a number of Coleraine’s decorated players will come under pressure to join other leagues, most notably the Western Border Football League.
“That’s going to happen and you hear all sorts of rumours about guys going here and there, but it wouldn’t be country footy without the rumous,” Munro said.
“I’m apparently coaching three sides already,” he laughed.
“I could probably name four guys that will retire, they’ve told us that already, plus you don’t know who else is going to go where.
“What we do know is we’ve already picked up a couple and some guys from last year’s premiership-winning side have already told me they’re wanting to play again.”
Alongside Munro in 2007 will hopefully be his selectors, Peter Kane and Steven Picken, who the Coleraine leader said made his job much easier.
“We all tend to think the same which is really good.
“Sometimes they’re able to pick up on things that I don’t see when I’m out there playing – it’s important to have guys like that on the bench.”
On Saturday Coleraine faces archenemy Tyrendarra which defeated Branxholme-Wallacedale at the weekend.
Munro said footy fans should expect to see both teams play their usual style of modern footy.
“Lots of run – that’s what sets us and Tyrendarra aside from everyone else,” Munro said.
“You could see in the game between Branxholme-Wallacedale and Tyrendarra at the weekend, Branxholme was great for about 15 minutes, but then they stopped running and you cannot afford to do that against Tyrendarra.
“The league has improved a lot this season, though.
“Branxholme-Wallace has made huge steps in the right direction, same for Westerns.
“There’s never an easy game against Sandford and even Cavendish made some huge improvement from round one to the end of the year.
“I think most clubs are working in the right direction.”