Let the parish play the occasion, we'll play the final insists Declan

Let the parish play the occasion, we'll play the final insists Declan

Fenagh St. Caillin's manager Declan Maguire pictured with selectors Caillin McLoughlin and Niall Flynn. Photo by Willie Donnellan

Fenagh St. Caillin’s may be making a rare appearance in a County Final but manager Declan Maguire insists his team will play the game and not the occasion next Sunday against Annaduff.

Visiting the Fenagh camp one immediately noticed the calm demeanour to the set up and Declan is keen to see that the work put in on the training ground is reflected against Annaduff next Sunday.

“Looking forward to it, it’s great to be in a County Final,” Declan told the Observer, “They are very grounded lads, very modest lads, very humble lads. They’ve won a lot underage but they probably know that until they win something at Senior, people probably won’t give them the recognition they deserve.

“They’ve worked very, very hard, they’ve put in the work and now it is a case of turning up and putting in the performance on the day and see where that takes us. The preparation we have done will hopefully get them ready for these situations.

“We had a very tough semi-final against Leitrim Gaels who had been in the final last year and I think the fellas are ready for it, they’ll perform on the day.”

For such a young team, County Final day might seem overwhelming but Declan hopes that the groundwork laid by the management team will bear fruit against Annaduff - “I think the lads have taken it on board everything that has been said to them and I don’t think they fear anybody.

“We didn’t fear Leitrim Gaels, we don’t fear Annaduff but it is a case of us performing on the day and that is what we will be putting our 100% focus on this week, to performing on the day

Is there any fear the occasion may get to the young Fenagh players? “The main message we’ll be putting out to them is let the Parish play the occasion, we’ve to play the game. It is a simple philosophy. Once the first whistle is blown it is back to what they’ve been doing from U12s the whole way up.”

Certainly Declan is not underestimating Annaduff - “They are a very good team, they were a Senior team and they have a lot of very good footballers. They play very good football, they got a lot of goals in the semi-final, they are going to be dangerous and we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them and hopefully we will.

“Annaduff beat Eslin and I know Martin McGowan quite well and if Martin is involved with any team, he is going to have them at their very best. Had they got a couple of goals early on in the semi-final, they had a couple of goal chances, who knows what might have happened in the end.

“Annaduff showed great character in the end to come out on top. They’re in the final, it is a 50-50 game and we’ll see who comes out on top.”

Fenagh have the luxury of two Leitrim stars in their line-up and Declan appreciates the example Donal Wrynn and Ryan O’Rourke set for their teammates - “Ryan and Donal are great lads, very professional in the way they look after themselves, great role models for the rest of the younger lads and when you have two boys like that, fellas have someone to look up to. We’re very lucky to have them on our team.”

The Fenagh manager is keen to stress the work that has gone on behind the scenes this year to get St. Caillin’s to the final - “There has been a lot of work going in behind the scenes. Niall Flynn, Caillin McLoughlin, Frank Smith behind the scenes have worked with the lads a lot longer than I’ve worked with them.

“They know the lads, they know their thinking, they know who is able to handle that pressure and they’ve been a massive help this year in the whole preparation and getting the lads ready for the final.

“A lot of people in this club, very proud people, have done a lot of work. Bobby O’Rourke has done a lot of work underage, Niall Flynn, Frank Smith, Caillin McLoughlin, Ray Greenan, Ray Tubman, there is an awful lot of people there.

“There has been an awful lot of work to get Fenagh to this stage and our job is to try and get the sort of performance that will reflect all the work that has been done over the years at this club.”

As for a prediction, Declan is calm and authoritative when he states “We’re confident, we’re not in any way cocky or arrogant or anything like that. We feel that we can perform and if we can give our best performance. Our main job is to try and execute that. If we do that, we feel we won’t be far away.”

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