Having taken over at Glencar/Manorhamilton this year manager Fergal O’Flaherty won’t hear any talk of a ‘drive for five’ insisting what has happened in previous years will not effect Sunday’s final.
“I wasn’t involved until this year and we’re just focusing on the one match and try to win this next match. You can talk about a five in a row after that,” Fergal told the Observer.
Although he may be relatively new to Glencar/Manorhamilton, he is well aware of the rivalry that exists with Melvin Gaels and has the height of respect for Melvin Gaels. Fergal has seen at very close quarters just how good many of their players are.
“They are a very proud club. I know a lot of the players from school here in Bundoran, I would have taught some of them and coached some of them, I’d be familiar with them.
“All around Melvin Gaels are a very strong team as their results in the last few weeks have shown. The score against Aughawillan was a huge score to put up in a semi-final and last week in the league they put up another huge score. We know they have 15 very good players and we have to be able to match them all over the field.”
The sides met in the opening game of this year’s Championship and while neither were at their best, Fergal is expecting Sunday’s final to be just as tight as the drawn game.
“I think it will be more of the same in the final. They were very dogged and determined. They showed great intensity and we’re expecting the exact same from them again. A point or so will probably win the game, so long as we get the winning point.”
It is often said that a sign of a good team is when they are winning without being at their best and Fergal acknowledged there is room for improvement from a Glencar/Manor point of view.
“We’ve had a good year so far but I think we have a bit to find yet. We’re looking for a big performance and there is room for improvement in every game. We have played in patches but I don’t think we have reached our full potential yet.”
With both camps knowing each other so well Fergal acknowledged he will be making adjustments to his side to deal with the threat posed by Melvin Gaels stating, “Every game is different so every opposition you respect them and you do alter. Before each game we’ve looked at the opposition so we do alter our game for everyone.”
The key to victory could lie in the fact that Glencar/Manor have so many players with vast experience and the team is full of players with inter-county experience. When asked if such experience could benefit his side in Sunday’s final Fergal replied, “Absolutely and I would hope that is going to be the case in the final, that they will turn it on the big occasion.”
Looking back to the semi-final victory over St Mary’s Fergal felt that it was experience that helped his side across the line. “I think St Mary’s were underrated by a lot of people. They beat Mohill comprehensively in the quarter final whereas we had just about beaten Mohill in the group stages. We knew it was going to take a big effort. We had that for 40 minutes, we played very well but we let our concentration slip and let them back into the game and we very nearly got caught. We dug in for the last five minutes to get the victory.
“The experience showed in the last five minutes of that game. We had one chance and took it, they had a couple of chances that they missed.”