BACK IN THE GAME
Travers returns to the GAA as AGB manager
HE WAS for a time one of the most easily recognisable figures on the Wicklow Senior football team. He was the guy who could always be heard above the din of the crowd, screaming instructions and encouragement to his full back line, protesting with the referee, urging on the supporters. But then disaster struck. Three years ago Mervyn Travers' football career was ended after a horrific injury during the game against Westmeath in Tullamore when he ruptured his patellar tendon and broke his knee cap. And despite battling to make a return, the fact that he would only return to 70 per cent of where he had been, added to the level of pain and agony he had to endure after training, it was just not to be.
But now he's back in the game. Back playing another leader's role as he takes over the management of his own club, the AGB Senior footballers at the tender age of 30.
“You have to draw a line at some stage,” said Mervyn when asked about the injury. “You have to have a level of enjoyment playing football and that was gone for me so a few people around the club had been mentioning the management thing to me and then Ray Menton approached me and I outlined what I was looking for in terms of equipment and support from the club and they've got behind me fully and they made it a very difficult job not to take,” he added.
For AGB chairman Ray Menton the appointment of Mervyn as Senior manager comes as a huge boost to the club who have never really caught fire at Senior level, a flaw that culminated in their relegation to Division 2 of the Senior football league last year.
“We negotiated with Mervyn over the last few weeks and we're delighted he's taken on the job. He's one of our own players, he's sort of a local hero down here with the younger players, both him and Ciaran Hyland, so it's great to have him on board. He's someone the players can look up to and he has a vast amount of experience as a player,” he added.
For the former Wicklow number one his work starts immediately as he puts together his management team ahead of the start of the league. And it's in the league that his ambitions begin.
“We'll certainly be looking for promotion from the league,” he said honestly. “We've been a very poor championship side at Senior so I want to get the lads competing in the championship and to maximise their potential. You know, you look at the size of the town here and you see what Bray are doing. They went back to the drawing board so we're trying to emulate what they're doing,” he added.