Flanagan: ‘Players won’t be holding back’





Offaly native Pat Flanagan is in his second year as manager of Pádraig Pearses. The former Sligo and Westmeath manager has brought a huge wealth of experience with him as the club bid to win the Fahey Cup for the first time in its history.

  Pat began by reflecting on that controversial semi-final win against Boyle during which Pearses had three men sent off and eight more booked. He was adamant however that the best teams play on the edge.

  “With regard to our playing style, if you want to win championships you have to play on the edge. It is a physical contest after all. Dublin have won five All-Irelands in a row and you don’t see them backing away. We go out to play hard and honest. We got a lot of cards in the semi-final but you would have to question a few of them. I found it surprising that we got so many cards in comparison to Boyle. I certainly don’t want our players to lessen what they are doing in terms of competing for the ball. If you take that away you might as well forget about football,” he said.

  Flanagan believes his side are on an upward curve at present but there were worries over how the club’s inter-county players would re-adapt earlier this year.

  “We are certainly improving. Remember we had five lads in with the county this year and four of them played in every game – league and championship – and I was very concerned about them when they came back how they would be. Our first three matches showed the effort that those lads had put in with the county and it took them three games to get acclimatised to being back with the club again. But in the last two games that has come right  and I thought they were all really good last Sunday in the semi-final. That’s the level that we expect from them.

  “We need to improve again and if we don’t we will not win this final, simple as that. We want to improve in every aspect of our play, including our discipline. We are also conceding a lot, 2-12 and 1-14 in our last two games. If we concede like that in the final we won’t be winning.

  “We have tried to play differently in our past two games and it has worked. Whether it works in the final or not we will have to wait and see. We have to get the balance right between defence and attack.

  “Roscommon Gaels are in this final on merit. They have come through their campaign easily and in fact both teams have been impressive on their way to the final.

  “We have been working very hard on our attacking play but it hasn’t shown itself until the last two games and we have been very happy with our return in them. We were making the chances early in the championship and the league but we were not putting them away and now hopefully we are beginning to do that.

  “I have to try and delve into all the experience that I have accumulated over the years to try to help this team get over the line. This final is huge. We have to set history aside and play to the best of our ability. It we do that and Roscommon Gaels beat us, then fair play to them, but I would hate to see us hiding behind history. What has happened in the past is gone and it will have nothing to do with what will happen in this final on Sunday,” he concluded.