Flanagan rallies his troops for Tuam
Pádraig Pearses manager Pat Flanagan has been around the block in terms of county and club management, and the experienced Offaly man is taking a very methodical approach to preparations ahead of Sunday’s final.
“We have been taking it one game at a time and that’s going back to the quarter-final of the Roscommon championship and this is no different. At that stage (in Roscommon) we had three hours of football to play to win the title and this is the same, three hours, two are gone so one to go. So it’s up to us to go out now and compete the best we can for that hour that’s left.
“We have no injuries or any knocks and to have played Tourlestrane and Tir Chonaill Gaels and to come out injury free is fantastic”.
He believes that winning the title in Roscommon has made a huge difference to his team.
“There is far more confidence and self-belief since we won the county final. We have been trying to keep things nice and calm and we tell the lads to just go out and play football.
“Since the start of the year I wanted to take the ‘one hour’ final out of our thinking. I wanted the lads to believe that it would be a long campaign. We wanted to take the fear factor out of the equation and when that happened we played good football”.
Pat says that there are many players in his squad that have that all-important ‘winning mentality’.
“It wasn’t a hard job to get guys to readjust after winning the county final because we have a lot of winners in our dressing room. We have lads that have a couple of Connacht senior medals but I’ve always said that what we achieved in Roscommon is history and it’s in the past. I think that there is an awful lot more in this team and that’s the approach we are taking”.
With regard to the all-conquering Corofin side, Pat says that they are a magnificent team but that anything is possible in a one-off match.
“Corofin are a serious football team. We all know what they did last year to Clann na nGael and what they did when they got to Croke Park. They beat really good teams by ten and twelve points.
“If you go through the stats they have won eleven or twelve out of fourteen Galway senior finals, which is remarkable. They have a winning mentality and that’s invaluable in any team. They’ll always feel they have the winning of any game. So can we cope with that? It’s going to be a massive task but it’s a one-off football match. They have everything to lose”.
But the Pearses boss won’t entertain any suggestion that Corofin are in decline.
“I’m not sure that you can read anything into Corofin’s form. I gather that the conditions in the county final (against Tuam) were dire. I saw the game they played against Ballintubber and while they were not flying I wonder if they are timing it to be ready for the All-Ireland semi-finals and finals. But Ballintubber are a very good, experienced team who conceded a very soft goal and if they hadn’t let in that goal it could have been a different result”.
Rather than being overawed by the All-Ireland champions Pat knows that if his side play to their best they have a real chance.
“Personally I am delighted that we are playing Corofin. They are the best and it is always great to be competing against the best. We have played away in our last two championship games and that will help us going on Sunday.
“This is an exceptional Corofin team but as I said to our lads in London, we have an exceptional team too and we have great scope to develop even further.
“This Sunday we are going out to play a one hour game of football and if we apply ourselves properly and do the right things to be still in the game with fifteen or twenty minutes to go then I think we have a good chance,” he concluded.