There is nothing like motivation in the GAA to inspire and drive a team on and Gortletteragh’s joint manager Sean Hynes is hoping that the experience of losing last year’s GWP Intermediate Final will drive Gortletteragh to victory next Saturday.
Speaking to the Observer, Sean, who shares the management duties with Tom Ward and Dessie Barry, said of last year’s experience “It helps drive them on. I suppose the fact that they were beaten last year means they have good experience of being in a final but that will count for nothing if they are beaten on the day in the final.
“The experience of last year will stand them in good stead, the fact that they were beaten means they are very driven to get back this year and to do it. From the start of the year, their goal was to win the championship. They are 60 plus minutes away from it and I hope that they put in another good performance.
“It is all on the day because things can go for you, things went for us the first day against Glenfarne in the drawn match, we hung in there and we’d hope that the luck stays with us on the final day as well.”
The experience in the drawn game against Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher provides great inspiration ahead of the final for both players and management as Gortletteragh have dealt with the tag of favourites all year - “Favoruties tag brings its own pressures, they have to live up to it and thank God, so far this year, we’ve had a couple of scrapes along the way, we’ve just about lived up to it.
“They do have the knack of winning and staying in games, especially the drawn match against Glenfarne. We were very lucky to get out of jail that day and we probably used that bit of experience.
“We relied a lot on experience that day. Cathal McCrann’s kick that day was a fantastic free, we didn’t panic, we worked the ball up the field, it came from a short kick-out and we got the free and we lived to fight another day.
“But as I said, we were very, very lucky and as we said here, we didn’t win it the last day, we won it the first day because we hung in there and our hunger and experience told for us that day. We started a lot sharper in the replay and we concentrated on that during the week.
“I think the favourites tag did bring that bit of expectation and put that bit of pressure on them the first day. They did seem to be a little bit more relaxed the next day, they were up for the job. It is not that they underestimated Glenfarne by any means but they kicked on from it and they learned a lot of them.”
The experience of last year should also stand to Gortletteragh in the lead-up to the final - “It is a great two weeks to look forward to but there is a lot of work to be done I suppose as well, there is a game to be won., there is a championship to be won. From the point of view of the club and the parish, it is great and it is great to be looking forward to it as well rather than being out of it at the same time.”
Sean is new into the Gortletteragh set-up and admits that he and Dessie Barry have enjoyed the challenge to go one step further with a team that contested the Intermediate Final last year - “It has its own pressure. Coming in at the start, it was hard but the lads made it very easy for us over the last couple of months.
“Attendance at training has been great, they have really bought into what we are trying to do, the systems of play and they have been a pleasure to work with to be honest. We see ourselves here, especially with Tom and Dessie here, we’re all one, this is a joint management team, there is no boss here.
“As we say, there is a gaffer, the manager and the boss and that is the way we describe it, I don’t know who is which!”
As for Dromahair, Sean is wary - “We haven’t seen much of them, we played them early on in the Shield, they were missing a few and we were missing a few and it was a great game of football I must say. That was the only time I’ve seen them play and I was really, really impressed by them, they play with a good system, they are very quick and they are going to be very difficult to beat.
“Kevin Conlan scored 1-3 against Laois and he makes them tick, a real good forward, and they have two good fellows inside. We’re under no illusions, we’re in for a really hard battle and if we win this championship, we’ll deserve it because between the Glenfarne game and Dromahair, really good teams to beat.
“We were one of the favourites but I would say they were the favourites from the start to win the championship so we’re just falling into line that the two top teams did get to it and it makes for a great final.