History awaits Glencar Manor as St. Mary’s lie in wait
The two teams heading into Sunday’s senior football championship final couldn’t be approaching the game from more differing perspectives.
The men from Glencar Manorhamilton are seeking to emulate the great Melvin Gaels team of the 1950s and ’60s by becoming only the second team in the county to win four consecutive senior titles in a row. The manner in which this team has come to dominate the senior championship has been remarkable, but not surprising.
Glencar Manorhamilton has been recording consistent successes at all underage levels for well over a decade now and the club has rightly become the envy of all others in the county. And not just because they have been able to carry that success into their various senior ranks, but because of the structures that have been put in place to allow this happen. Add to this the fact that the team has the most loyal and enthusiastic set of supporters in the county and there is a lot to be admired in what Glencar Manorhamilton are doing.
True, they boast a population few other clubs in Leitrim can match. But that population engages with the GAA in ways few others do in Leitrim either. Not only do they have a fabulous tradition in Scór but hurling is pushed and promoted in the club at every opportunity too. And let’s not forget the ladies who were winning around them when the lads were still ‘also rans’ in senior circles. The club now caters from U12 level up for the fairer sex.
Even a brief look to county board level ‘ with Diarmuid Sweeney and Collette Fox holding the important posts of Secretary and PRO respectively ‘ would suggest best governance practice has also been in place in the club for some time.
The sort of community buy-in evident in Manorhamilton and Glencar generates a feel good factor that makes participation in our games fun. If you start enjoying playing for your club and feel appreciated by those running it, the next thing you seek out is success.
The first taste of success in the modern senior era for the club came in 1999. I was reporting on that match for the Leitrim Observer and I can honestly say Fenagh were robbed. They kicked away a game they deserved to win but, like the Dubs on Sunday, the boys from the north were hungry to the death and a fabulous goal stole only the second senior title in their club’s history.
From there they have kicked on in the new millennium to become the team to beat. So how do St. Mary’s Kiltoghert try to achieve exactly that come Sunday? There is a perception that the big town team should always dominate club championships but the reality consistently shows this is not the case. St. Eunan’s in Letterkenny are a fine point in case. They have the pick and the players on paper but don’t always manÓge to turn this in success.
St. Mary’s are only one behind their opponents in the Leitrim club championship leadership board with wins in 1958, 1995, 2003, 2007. Last year’s defeat should stand them inÓgood stead this weekend, you often learn more in defeat than in victory. The experience the Lowe brothers had at county level this year should give them an opportunity to edge the vital midfield battle if they are both on their game. However, Manor’s own county men had great years too with Adrian Croal and Paddy Maguire the pick of the bunch.
In the end it will come down to winning primary possession and the ability to turn that possession into scores. Glencar Manorhamilton has proven they are the best at this over the past three years. St. Mary’s will need the performance of the year from every one of their players to stop that becoming four.
23-Sep-11 by Colin Regan- PRO