THE McSor­ley in­sists Gaels play­ing to their strengths

Drogheda Independent - - SPORT -

BLAN­KET de­fences might not be ev­ery­body’s cup of tea, but don’t be hold­ing your breath for an apol­ogy from the Dundalk Gaels’ camp.

And when you go a quar­ter of a cen­tury with­out a county fi­nal ap­pear­ance, why should you apol­o­gise for adopt­ing a style of play that suits your per­sonel?

‘Some peo­ple might call it 15 men be­hind the ball, but we stick to the plan and I think we are very good on the counter-at­tack and we’ve good play­ers who can go for­ward and score,’ in­sists Ger McSor­ley, whose pace and scor­ing threat is a key el­e­ment of the Gaels’ sys­tem.

One thing ev­ery­one can agree upon is that Dundalk Gaels have honed their de­fen­sive sys­tem al­most to per­fec­tion and many feel it could be the key to suc­cess against an ul­tra-tal­ented Blues at­tack on Sun­day.

‘‘We take the right op­tions when it’s on and our counter-at­tack has re­ally im­proved in the last few years. We’ve bril­liant play­ers that can move up and down the pitch, but it’s about get­ting the bal­ance right and I think we have it right, now.’

Now well es­tab­lished in the Louth se­nior set-up, McSor­ley is keen to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence of a county fi­nal.

The Gaels have been knock­ing on the door for a few years, but he feels Malachy O’Rourke’s metic­u­lous ap­proach has pro­pelled them to the next level.

‘[Fi­nals] don’t come round too of­ten here. It could be a once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity, so we’ll take it in our stride and en­joy it and hope­fully all goes well.

‘I think over the last few years we were just miss­ing that lit­tle bit ex­tra. And I think with Mal com­ing in last year he’s tweaked the sys­tem and we’ve re­ally got it down to a tee now.’

While the Blues have more or less sailed through to Sun­day’s show­down, the Gaels suf­fered a ma­jor hic­cup in their sec­ond group game against Naomh Mairtin, but that de­feat seems to have re-fo­cused minds.

‘We kind of had to go back to the draw­ing board af­ter the Mairtins game and re­ally take a look at what way we were play­ing.

‘I think train­ing wise, since that game, we’ve had it in our heads that we need to be a lot bet­ter than that and we worked re­ally, re­ally hard to get to where we are.’

They cer­tainly did it the hard way, beat­ing Sean O’Ma­hony’s by a point af­ter a re­play and then al­most blow­ing an eight­point cush­ion against Naomh Mairtin in the semi-fi­nal.

In the drawn game against O’Ma­hony’s they had to come back from two down to force the re­play, and in hind­sight that may have been just as much of a turn­ing point in the cam­paign as the Martin’s group stage de­feat.

‘We just keep plug­ging away,’ McSor­ley re­calls of the first O’Ma­hony’s game. ‘No game’s over un­til the fi­nal whis­tle. We were two be­hind, but we kept plug­ging away and even­tu­ally we got our chances, took them, so that’s it now. As I said Mal has given us that lit­tle bit ex­tra an we’re not done un­til it’s over.’

But it was the semi-fi­nal dis­play against Naomh Mairtin that re­ally got peo­ple to sit up and take no­tice and McSor­ley feels they need more of the same on Sun­day.

‘We knew what we were go­ing to be up against in the Mairtins, but we had a plan that we were go­ing to stick to and luck­ily it went our way. We were very clin­i­cal in the first half and it paid off in the end.

‘I think some­one’s watch was bro­ken that day...I think it was six and a half min­utes added. At some stage the Mairtins were al­ways go­ing to come back, but I think we dealt with it well. Ea­monn Kenny made a bril­liant block near the end so it could have been dif­fer­ent, but even­tu­ally the whis­tle went.

‘We’re just look­ing for­ward to Sun­day now. Ev­ery­one loves a fi­nal. It’s good to see the chil­dren round the club and ev­ery­one’s ex­cited with flags and ban­ners go­ing up. So we’ll em­brace it, but at the same time it’s just an­other game, so we just have to go out and play.

‘It’s two teams in a fi­nal and it’s 50-50. No-one knows who’s go­ing to win what. It’s two teams that have ob­vi­ously done well enough to reach a fi­nal, so we’ll just take it as it comes and hope­fully we get the re­sult.’

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