The doors of Coláiste Chluain Meala reopened on Thursday morning and the Tipperary boss, principal at the Clonmel vocational school, has “been up to his eyes” in staff meetings and timetable scheduling.
McGeever is heading into his 15th year at Clonmel, having left his native Donegal when giving his wife “no good excuse” to stay up north.
Linking up with the Tipperary development squads back in 2012, he was handed the role of minor manager the following year.
An All-Ireland quarter-final was the destination during his first summer on the sideline, one step further on the ladder climbed earlier this month when claiming the scalp of Connacht champions Galway.
The seven-point win over the westerners was far removed from their limp Munster final showing, but McGeever won’t entertain chat of a “surprise” win.
“People have got to get to the point where Tipperary wins at underage are not a surprise,” he says.
“There are an awful lot of good players coming through. The win against Galway didn’t surprise me. I would have been disappointed had we not won that match because at the time of the Kerry match, we had 16 lads coming out of doing their Leaving Cert, and that curtailed the time we had with them.
“We didn’t play well against Kerry in Killarney. We didn’t perform. Neither I nor the team performed. We got our match-ups wrong. Our disappointment would have been knowing what was in the squad, knowing that some of these guys had been together for so long, and that we hadn’t put in a performance.
“Leading into the Galway match, we got some open ground, open time. We got our act together and the lads played well. We raised the bar and there was a marked improvement.”
Leinster champions Kildare stand in the county’s way of a second All-Ireland minor final appearance since 2011, and McGeever believes it will take a similar performance to that displayed against Galway, married with the character shown in the Munster semi-final win over Clare in May, to take down the Lilywhites.
Trailing by three points minutes from the end at home to Clare, Tipperary produced a storming finish — included in that was Brendan Martin’s injury-time winner — to progress in dramatic fashion (0-16 to 2-9).
“That was a big match in our season because if we didn’t scrape past Clare, we were out.
“I thought we showed great character that night. We didn’t play well in some patches, but it is when the questions are asked and whether or not you can respond. The question was asked that night, and we responded.
“Some people said we were lucky. I wouldn’t say we were lucky. I would say we did very well in the end because we had not played well up to that point.
“We had to win four or five possessions to work ourselves into scoring positions to kick three-points.” One of three teams remaining in the hunt for the All-Ireland crown, McGeever accepts this is a position Tipperary teams don’t often find themselves in.
Silverware, however, is not his primary concern.
“At minor level you are identifying players. We take great stock when they progress onto U21 and senior, as Colin O’Riordan, Steven O’Brien and others have done recently. They are the benchmark. We have four lads still with us from 2013 — Alan Tynan, Stephen Quirke, Danny Owens and Emmet Moloney — who would have played with Colin. They would look at his development and progression since leaving minor.
“U21 manager Tommy Toomey is still working closely with us, he has been with us every night. Peter Creedon was involved in the quarter-final set-up against Galway. They have kept an eye on us. I have been able to dip into their resources in every way, shape and form. Minor players when they see senior management around know there is a pathway there for them. We trained on the same nights as seniors. That lends itself to good habits. Watching them is always a help. We’d feel there are a number of players in our group who can represent Tipperary at senior level.”
C Manton (Fethard), T Fitzgerald (Moyle Rovers), J Skehan (Holycross Ballycahill), T Lowry (Arravale Rovers), D Owens Capt. (Moyle Rovers), L Fahy (Rockwell Rovers), E Moloney (Drom & Inch), J Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials), T Nolan (Drom & Inch), A Buckley (St. Patricks), A Tynan (Inane Rovers), C English (Fr. Sheehys), R Peters (Clonmel Commercials), B McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney), B Martin (Kilsheelan Kilcash).