Liam Moggan will talk at Equine Hedge School on Tues 5th January

liam moggans

Liam Moggans influence, however, is vast.

He was a close advisor to Ken Doherty when Doherty was ranked the number one snooker player in the world. He was part of Anthony Daly’s backroom team when the Clarecastle man guided both Clare and Dublin to All-Ireland semi-finals. For two seasons, he’s acted as performance coach to Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s Kerry footballers.

For the likes of Billy Walsh in the Irish boxing high performance unit, Moggan is the coach’s coach. Literally.

His day job is coach education officer with Coaching Ireland, coaching coaches to coach coaches, and of course, players. Gary Keegan, the director of the Institute of Sport, would also have participated on one of the tutor courses Moggan would have facilitated. From show jumping there’s been Gerry Mullins, who Moggan continues to work with, abroad. From Gaelic Games, the likes of Eamon Ryan and Pat O’Shea.

Brian Kerr and Noel O’Reilly would have been learning from Moggan around the time they were leading Ireland to two European underage titles and a World U20 semi-final, though Moggan will say he learned even more from them. Packie Bonner first learned to use a laptop on one of Moggan’s courses.

He’s been behind a lot of the top coaches in this country. He’s got them to think in a less conventional, traditional way. Back in the day people thought coaching was all about the big stick and the whip. With Liam it’s more about helping the athletes to find the solutions themselves. Some of it is very simple, like questioning rather than telling the athlete: ‘how do you feel about that?’ But there’s so much power from that because it empowers the athlete to become decision-makers. Liam just has a way of educating that breeds confidence into you. And the other thing is he’s always there for you in an advisory capacity, even when it’s years after you’d have done one of his courses.”

Every year he facilitates a course or two in which 28 or so coaching tutors from about 16 different sports meet up in the University of Limerick over five weekends.

It’s off the radar. He actually likes that, prefers that, because nearly all sport and coaching is. It’s when there are no TV cameras or crowds or public scrutiny. It’s someone coaching a kid to swim or how to catch a ball, or how some adult can run faster, like his good friend Br Colm O’Connell has guided David Rushida out in Kenya.

The course is a little off the wall too. At some point over the five weekends, all those coaches will have coached a little in nearly all those 16 sports. Walsh would have coached some camogie and karate down there; Bonner, some badminton and rowing. And at some stage they’d nearly all have had to sing a song, because even in that, there’s coaching going on too.

For Liam Moggan it’s not all about WHAT you’re coaching but HOW you’re coaching.


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