Maguire hails brave play­ers

The Argus - - SPORT - JOHN SAV­AGE

NO-ONE could have blamed Kieran Maguire if he de­cided to make a clean break from his beloved Young Ire­lands last year.

The for­mer Louth U-21 boss was at the helm for one of the club’s most try­ing cam­paigns, but Adrian O’Donoghue took over at the end of 2017, Maguire agreed to stay on as a se­lec­tor and the rest as they say is his­tory.

‘I was the man­ager last year, but Adrian came in an changed things around and we got a few fel­las back and a few young fel­las in and af­ter los­ing the first game we haven’t looked back,’ he says.

‘You couldn’t have wished for any bet­ter and I for one was de­lighted to see the Ire­landers back in In­ter­me­di­ate. I took them down and when you’re the boss, the buck stops with you, but you have to take that on the chin. Derek [Maguire] came back from Amer­ica, Mark Sav­age is back and we have a lot of the play­ers play­ing a lot bet­ter. And once you start win­ning it’s a ter­ror how all of a sud­den you’re like a new team.

‘A lot of these boys have gone al­most a year play­ing foot­ball so they’re in a place they’ve never been be­fore, but one thing it has done is bond the team more then ever be­fore.

‘They’ve trav­elled the road a few times, it was three hours down to New Ross and three hours back and to come away with a win strength­ens that bond.’

Maguire hails the de­fen­sive sys­tem O’Donoghue has in­tro­duced, but points out that you need good de­fend­ers to make the sys­tem work.

‘We haven’t con­ceded a lot of scores, seven, eight, nine points max and even our for­wards come in off the train­ing pitch say­ing they’d hate to play our backs ev­ery week.

‘The lads in there know each other and they have each oth­ers back. They’re a unit now and they’re very hard to break down, so if you get any­thing out of them you earn it.

‘The Kilkenny game was a ba­nana skin, but in fair­ness to the lads they set their stall out. It was the big­gest pitch I’ve ever seen and it took us a while to get to grips with that, but the boys stuck to the task and even though they had a pur­ple patch, the boys pushed on again and we were easy win­ners in the end even though it was a phys­i­cal and de­mand­ing game.’

If that trip to New Ross was a jour­ney into the un­known, Satur­day’s fi­nal won’t be much dif­fer­ent, but Kieran says Adrian’s ap­proach makes it more about the Ire­lands team than their op­po­nents.

‘We find out what we can about teams, but only in terms of who they have and who does the scor­ing. Af­ter that we just get on with our own game. Adrian has it in the boys heads that it’s all about us. You have to know bits and pieces about the other team, but it’s not the bee-all or end-all and we know if we’re on our game teams will find it very hard to beat us.’

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