Stephen singing a winning tune for Gaels

“Jimmy’s winning matches” might be just about the most famous song in Ireland at the moment but Melvin Gaels midfielder Stephen McGurran is hoping that he can continue to hit all the right notes on and off the field.

“Jimmy’s winning matches” might be just about the most famous song in Ireland at the moment but Melvin Gaels midfielder Stephen McGurran is hoping that he can continue to hit all the right notes on and off the field.

Stephen’s performances with Melvin Gaels over the past two seasons had seen many keen observers of football predicting a bright future with the County team for the Kinlough man but Stephen has another sideline that is earning just as many rave reviews.

Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist with the band Stonefree, Stephen admits that juggling both football and music is a tough business – “I was called up last year to County training but I’m playing music in the band Stonefree and I was flat out. I couldn’t do it all, I was missing training and stuff like that for gigs.

“You can’t really do that playing county, you have to be one hundred percent. You have to have no other distractions, that has to be your life so I couldn’t really work it.”

But despite having to drop out last year, Stephen would love to get involved with the County set-up again – “I’d love to do it in the future, I loved going up, the whole set up and the training and hopefully, in a year or so, you never know.”

But music and county takes a back seat to next Sunday’s County Final and Stephen admits the delay has been tough – “Can’t wait, it has been really dragging on for us. I’m really looking forward to it but I can’t wait to get going.

“It is a bit hard to retain focus, I think we were looking so much to getting into the final that nothing is going to distract us.”

Part of the frustration is the excitement of facing Glencar/Manorhamilton in the final – “It is everything, getting to the final but it does add extra spice to it for sure that is Manor. We had to put a lot of work to it to get up from intermediate but we’re just delighted to be back in the final.

Often used as a utility player, Stephen admits a preference for the middle of the field and he is looking to pitting himself against Darren Sweeney and Aaron Hickey - “Midfield, I definitely prefer it but it was just something we tried out at the beginning of the year to try out different options but it is back to the middle. You’re always involved in the game at midfield.

“It will be a good battle, myself and BB in the middle, so it’ll be good, I’m looking forward to it.”

Asked to pin-point the danger posed by Manor, Stephen instantly says “I’d say the full-forward line definitely and if we can stop the ball going into those two boys, we’ll have them well sussed.”

And where do Melvin Gaels strengths lie? “I’d say our defence, this year especially our defence has been so solid and seriously helped us. I suppose you’d have to say Emlyn as well, you’d want to see him on the ball.”

As for a prediction, Stephen says “I’d say it is going to be tight, it could go any way but in the last five minutes, I’d say we’ll definitely see it out so we will.”