THE McSorley insists Gaels playing to their strengths
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.’