Hol­croft hopes Fechin’s get mo­tor­ing this time

Mo­men­tum and con­sis­tency the key to Mochta’s run to de­cider

The Argus - - SPORT - JOHN SAV­AGE

RO­NAN Hol­croft be­lieves St Fechin’s be­long in the se­nior ranks, but he also knows they will have to earn their seat at Louth foot­ball’s top ta­ble.

De­spite a proud tra­di­tion of mix­ing it with the very best, the Ter­mon­feckin club were wal­low­ing in the ju­nior grade when the Louth star and most of his con­tem­po­raries came on to the scene and while they’re now reg­u­larly men­tioned as IFC con­tenders, a soli­tary and dis­ap­point­ing 2014 fi­nal de­feat to Sean O’Ma­hony’s is the clos­est they’ve come Sea­mus Flood Cup glory.

‘We got to the fi­nal in 2014 and if you asked me if we’d be back over the next year or two I would have said yes 100 per cent,’ says the Louth at­tacker. ‘But it doesn’t al­ways work out like that. The in­ter­me­di­ate grade is so com­pet­i­tive that there’s al­ways one or two teams that go fur­ther than ex­pected, so un­less you’re re­ally in top form you can for­get about reach­ing a fi­nal.

‘I’d be a bit dis­ap­pointed that it took us so long to get back here and I’d have to say we’ve un­der­achieved.

‘In my opin­ion St Fechin’s GFC should be se­nior. I started in ‘09 and we were a pretty poor ju­nior team, but we’ve won se­nior ti­tles in the past and I think that if we win on Sun­day we’ll be back where we be­long.

‘It can be tough at times lis­ten­ing to the se­nior jar­gon on both sides of us, from the Blues and Clogher­head, but we have a chance now to get up and it’s time to de­liver.’

While Sun­day’s fi­nal­ists have raised a few eye­brows en route to the de­cider, it doesn’t re­ally come as a sur­prise to Ro­nan. He has al­ways felt the Fechin’s should be there at the busi­ness end ev­ery year and he reck­ons St Mochta’s have shown plenty of po­ten­tial too.

‘I wouldn’t be overly sur­prised to see the Mochta’s in it. We’ve played them plenty of times over the years in some big games and they’re a re­ally good side.’

Fechin’s hold the up­per­hand this year, win­ning both clashes, but Ro­nan in­sists it’s still 50/50.

‘The league is the league, but in the cham­pi­onship in the Clans pitch there was noth­ing in it. I think they were ahead at half­time and the goal we got was the dif­fer­ence in the end, it was only a kick of a ball.

‘They’re so strong down the spine with Philip Englishby, Dar­ren McMa­hon and Ea­monn O’Neill and Decky up front. We know we’ll have to curb their in­flu­ence.’

And Ro­nan also ex­pects to have to deal with the re­turn­ing Cia­ran Byrne at some stage on Sun­day.

‘He is a big ad­di­tion to them. It kind of came out be­fore their semi-fi­nal that he wasn’t go­ing to start and if you had asked me then if I thought they might not start him, I would have laughed at you. But it just shows the strength in depth they have and the form they were in that they didn’t start a player like that.’

While the sides met in the 2009 ju­nior fi­nal with Mochta’s edg­ing it, the Fechin’s have that 2014 in­ter­me­di­ate fi­nal de­feat to draw.

‘We nearly clawed it back on the day against the O’Ma­hony’s but there’s plenty of lads still around from that fi­nal and hope­fully that will stand to us on Sun­day.’

Hol­croft is con­fi­dent they will do the busi- ness this time around, and he says that’s ex­actly the frame of mind man­ager Eu­gene Judge wants his team to adopt.

‘Eu­gene doesn’t over­com­pli­cate it. The start­ing point is that if ev­ery man goes out and wins their in­di­vid­ual bat­tle, the col­lec­tive re­sult will come.

‘It took a while for the light bulb to come on, but once it did the re­sults started to come too. Eu­gene’s com­ing from a club that has won se­nior ti­tles and he does look at you as if to say ‘why don’t you think you can win it’. It maybe took a while for that men­tal­ity to sink in, but for the young lads it’s great be­cause it gives them great self be­lief.’ UN­EARTHING a bit of con­sis­tency and mo­men­tum has been the key to St Mochta’s sum­mer odyssey, ac­cord­ing to man­ager Sea­mus McGa­hon.

But did he en­vis­age an in­ter­me­di­ate fi­nal when he took the reins of his home­town club?

‘To be hon­est no, but we’ve al­ways felt this group of play­ers were ca­pa­ble of it. Over the last few years they’ve prob­a­bly been sell­ing them­selves short. They’ve had one big per­for­mance to get out of a group or into a semi-fi­nal, but then lose the next time out. So there’s been a bit of con­sis­tency or maybe just a bit of mo­men­tum miss­ing.’

Shield­ing play­ers from the hype of a fi­nal is of­ten one of the man­ager’s trick­i­est as­sign­ments in the run-in to a fi­nal, but Sea­mus feels that sup­port­ers de­serve to en­joy the build-up and he trusts his play­ers to stay fo­cused.

‘It’s a tight-knit vil­lage and they’re foot­ball mad, even when things are go­ing badly, so you can imag­ine what it’s like in the build-up to a fi­nal. They’re great sup­port­ers and they de­serve this.

‘The play­ers are fully fo­cused on the game. They re­alise it’s still there to be won. We have a good mis in the squad. We’re lucky enough to have eight or nine who played in 2009 and are still around the 28 mark and then we have a great crop of younger lads who are no more than 23 or 24. Those young lads are buzzing and the older lads are let­ting them know what to ex­pect.

‘We have lads com­ing back too like Cia­ran Byrne and then Danny Kind­lon, Cor­mac Cal­lan and Bren­dan Duff, were all away for the sum­mer, so any time you get lads back like that it’s a big boost.

‘Ob­vi­ously, get­ting Cia­ran back is a great boost. It will take him a bit of time to re-ad­just, it’s a dif­fer­ent ball and even a dif­fer­ent po­si­tional sense, but we all know he has the tools be a top foot­baller.’

But St Fechin’s have a few top foot­ballers too and af­ter suf­fer­ing two de­feats to Eu­gene Kudge’s side al­ready this sea­son, Sea­mus knows his team have it all to do.

‘The Fechin’s are a good side, we’ve played them twice and they’ve won both, so we know what we’re up against. Any team that has play­ers like Ro­nan Hol­croft, Be­van Duffy or Niall Devlin are go­ing to be hard to stop.

‘We’ve played them a good few times over the years so we’ve gone through a cou­ple of things that we need to do and we do feel we let our­selves down a lit­tle bit against them this year, so there’s hope­fully a bit of room for im­prove­ment.

‘We just hope we can put in a per­for­mance that jus­ti­fies get­ting there and it will take a big per­for­mance to win it.

‘Se­nior foot­ball is the big prize. It would be great for the older lads who know what it’s like to be slog­ging away in ju­nior, while the younger lads only know in­ter­me­di­ate foot­ball. But it would be great to win a tro­phy for the sup­port­ers and the peo­ple who give up their time all year round

‘We have good mi­nor and U-16 teams com­ing through so the hope is that you can get up to se­nior and those younger lads com­ing through will strengthen you fur­ther,’ he adds.

Rona Hol­croft feels St Fechin’s have un­der­per­formed since los­ing the 2014 fi­nal to Pat O’Brien’s (right) Sean O’Ma­hony’s side.

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