Promotion still the holy grail for Tom McGlinchey

McGrath Cup Final

Promotion still the holy grail for Tom McGlinchey

Tom McGlinchey was calm afterwards and he’s been calm since. Last Sunday in Clashmore saw a first win for the Waterford footballers over Cork in over half a century, but the Déise football boss was talking about their first league game 20 minutes after the final whistle.

Which isn’t to say he’s been indifferent, of course.

“The reaction in Waterford was very good, there was an element of shock, I suppose, but once it started filtering out the reaction was very good.

“The players have gotten texts and messages and so on, and for the lads who’ve been playing with Waterford for a long time, it was great to have a result like that.

“But we were training during the week again and the feet were back firmly on the ground, in fairness. They haven’t overdone the reaction, either.

“Look, it could all blow up in our faces tonight, but the national league has been our focus all along. I said that to you after the Cork game and that’s the same now.”

In some ways tonight’s McGrath Cup final in Dungarvan could be a taller order than the last day. UCC will deploy plenty of firepower.

“If you look at the UCC team, even if Cork had come through to play them, nobody would have been surprised if UCC won that game — they could put out two different teams, and you have to have that it in inter-varsities to compete. But we’ll take something out of the Cork game going forward, a bit of belief, whatever happens tonight.”

McGlinchey has raw materials to work with. Stradbally could have beaten Castlehaven in the Munster Club a couple of years back; The Nire should have beaten Austin Stacks in the same competition a few weeks back.

“True, and they’re probably still kicking themselves over that. Though if they’d won we wouldn’t have the two O’Gormans and Liam Lawlor. There’s good talent in every county but the likes of Kerry and Cork and Dublin will always be strong because you can’t underestimate tradition. The same with Tipperary and Kilkenny in the hurling. The challenge for weaker counties is consistency and that comes with belief. You’ll find good footballers in every county and that’s not being condescending, but it’s a case of getting them all to work together and believe in themselves.”

McGlinchey describes himself as a traditional manager, doing a lot of the coaching himself.

“I’ve Tony Corcoran and Ger Power with me, and they’re the same — we’re all involved in doing the drills every night. I didn’t want selectors who’d be standing around with hands in their pockets, I wanted lads to be involved.

“I’m probably traditional in that sense, that I prefer to be out on the field, and that’s where you get a sense of lads as well — whether they’re going well or off-form and so on. And players appreciate that as well too, I think.

“It’s the same in your job, I’m sure. You could sit in front of the television and do a report, and you’d get a general sense of the game, but it’s not the same as being there, you see more, you appreciate more.

“Going back to the Dublin-Donegal game, a lot of people criticised it but I was at it and I enjoyed it immensely, I thought there was a lot to it that you’d appreciate if you were there. Take the All-Ireland football final — I met people after who were saying Michael Murphy had a poor game. But if you were at it you saw the way Aidan O’Mahony and Paul Murphy played him.

“Without fouling him they made sure the Donegal lads couldn’t see him — they were around him all the time. You couldn’t see that on television, all you noticed on the telly was that he wasn’t winning the ball.

“And coaching is like that, if you delegate too much I don’t think you get the feel for it.”

It’s a two-hour spin for McGlinchey to make it down to Carriganore (“I’ve an understanding family, don’t forget to mention them,”), plenty of time to mull over goals for the year. Promotion remains the holy grail. That’s what we’re aiming for. If we don’t get it we don’t get it, if a team is better than us on the day then so be it. That’ll happen to us too.

“But I’ve said it to the boys since we started off in the McGrath Cup — the Friday before our first game I said if we could win games in that competition then we wouldn’t have to be looking for challenge games.

“It’s gone on and on for us and here we are tonight, playing a good competitive game in Dungarvan — that’s where we’ll be playing our first league game as well next weekend, so that’s great.

“We want to win, of course we do. But we really want a performance. It’d be a shame, having beaten Cork, not to put in a good display the next time out. It’d put things on a downer for the week of the league match.”

They’ve given a performance every day so far. You wouldn’t bet against another one tonight.

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