Jerome Stack, a native of Listowel, Co. Kerry, took the reins at St Brigid’s in 2022, having previously had club management experience in both Kerry and Clare.
St Brigid’s’ championship run last year ended with a three-point defeat to Boyle – this Sunday’s opponents – in the semi-final, so there is plenty of incentive for Stack to try and ensure that result is reversed this weekend.
The manager says that the perception that St Brigid’s have come through the easier side of the draw does not really bother him.
“The scorelines of our games might suggest that alright, but we didn’t have any choice of our route to the final. What I would say is that we approached each game the same way, and particularly the knockout games. We wanted to make progress each day we went out. We treated every side we played this year with respect.
“We were knocked out in the semi-final last year and we wanted to go a step further this year. We have achieved that now and we want to take the final step now”.
Jerome says that the defeat to Boyle in the semi-final last year is still fresh in the minds of everyone involved with the Kiltoom club.
“There is no member of the team management and especially our players who have forgotten last year’s semi-final. We went into that match having played well in our group and Boyle came out on top in that match. Look, irrespective of anything that has gone on before, now we know what to expect from Boyle. Boyle were the last team to beat us in the championship and they deserved their win on that day too. It left us with questions to answer and we will see where that will take us on Sunday”.
The Brigid’s manager says that they will be concentrating on their own game but will have to account for the strengths of the opposition.
“We have to be prepared to play whatever style of game that we feel is required on the day. There may be a perception out there that a tough arm wrestle might not suit us, but I don’t feel that way. I do think that the panel of players that we have at the moment are capable of playing several different ways. We have earned our right to be in the final, and so have Boyle. So let’s see what happens”.
St Brigid’s have scored a very handsome total of 13 goals in the championship this year, a strike rate which has proven a major asset in their run to the final.
Jerome Stack: “From my point of view it’s brilliant that we have been scoring goals, but I would also point out that we have not conceded a goal in the championship so far. So there is a balance to be struck. If you want to have a chance of winning you have to be able to change during the course of a game. How you play may be dictated by the opposition. But to me we have gone about our business in a very balanced way so far. We haven’t got everything right but we have got a lot of things right”.
The St Brigid’s manager says that having a strong panel is very important at this level.
“Any team who want to be successful now must accept that it’s no longer a 15-man game. You need five good subs, but you need even more than that. Only five can come on but you need subs pushing each other for places. To be fair to our panel they have set the standard in terms of preparation”.
St Brigid’s are a big club, one that’s used to winning titles, so how important is it that they bring the Fahey Cup back to Kiltoom on Sunday?
“The next county championship that a player is in – whether it’s their first or their 31st in any county or for any club – the next match is the most important one. You won’t a get a chance to replay the game. All I’m concerned about is this county final. When it’s over we can talk about other games but now this is the only game that counts” he concluded.