Sami Dowling has been installed as our new strength and conditioning coach for the 2023 SSE Airtricity League of Ireland season.

The 36-year-old, who holds an MSC in Strength and Conditioning from IT Carlow, takes over from Graham Norton, who returned to Bohemians in December after four years at Oriel Park.

“I met Stevie (O’Donnell) and he was very interested in getting someone to drive the conditioning levels to new heights,” said Dowling.

“We seem to have a nice alignment of philosophies in relation to how I like to coach and train so I’m really looking forward to it here at Dundalk.”

The Wicklow native, who is also the strength and conditioning coach for the Dublin Ladies GAA team, has worked across a number of disciplines over the past decade.

He enjoyed a lengthy spell at Leinster Rugby and also served as the S&C coach for the Irish senior men’s team ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Dowling spent two years at Bray Wanderers between 2016 and 2018, working with Peter Cherrie and Daniel Kelly, and was part of the Dublin GAA set-up during their All Ireland win in 2011. He also had a two-year spell as Weightlifting Ireland’s high-performance coach.

“I’ve always liked to have some diversity,” he said. “It means that you are forced to look at the demands of the game in greater detail. Working in different sports and with different management teams has broadened my horizons and encouraged me to have an open mindset.”

After putting the squad through some tests in late December, Dowling took charge of pre-season training on Monday and he said he was delighted with the condition of the players.

“The guys put in a phenomenal shift over the off season which has allowed me to hit the ground running,” he said. “We came in and did some performance testing in the last week of December and that allowed me to see exactly what shape they’re in and they’re all very sharp and very fit.

“They’ve taken to me well,” he added with a smile. “There’s a really good culture here which is a credit to Stevie as well as the previous S&C coach. This has made my transition into the team an awful lot easier. The first question they asked me was when the footballs would be out and they appeared on day one so it’s been a good start!”

“Sami has loads of experience in different sports and we’re delighted to have him on board,” said O’Donnell. “He’s very thorough and if the first few days are anything to go by he’ll be a massive addition to the group.”