In 2020 Tomás Gilleran led St. Dominic’s into the county final against Oran and were it not for a spectacular pointed free from Charlie Carthy that brought the game into extra-time, they would have won the Jimmy Murray Cup. The margins were that fine. The impressive Dominic’s coach is now more determined than ever to steer his side to glory.
“There was only a hair’s breadth between the teams in the final last year but to be honest we came into that final a little under the radar and we were underdogs. We were trying to win it without too many people paying much heed to us, but the cat is out of the bag this year and there has been a lot of talk (outside our group) that we should get back to a final. We have taken it one game at a time and now we are back where we want to be,” he said.
Tomás says that it will be very hard to separate the teams when it comes to this final.
“A draw is probably a great bet! In fact, if you follow the formlines of Dominic’s and Faithleach’s there is no more than a point between the teams,” he said.
“We actually drew earlier in the championship but it’s hard to read anything into that game as we were both already through (to the quarter-finals). There will be nothing between the teams and it could well come down to something small late in the game to decide it”.
The Dominic’s manager adds: “We are improving. Last year we had a lot of tough matches played by the time we got to the final. This year we had a few injuries early in the campaign and I always said if we survived and got out of the group we would have bodies coming back. Now a few sessions out from the final everyone on the panel is available for selection. We are getting stronger,” he said.
Conceding two goals against Clann na nGael and ‘keeper Mark Miley having to make three good saves might suggest a problem in defence, but the manager says they were expecting to be under pressure at some stage during that semi-final.
“We never like to concede but in the semi-finals of a competition you are playing top class teams. Clann were always going to have a good spell but I was impressed that we stemmed the tide and played some cool and calculated football and increased the gap,” he added.
“The older guys are a great inspiration. Conor Fallon in particular has been some servant to this club. He gives 100 per cent all the time and does even more work away from the pitch…it’s that attitude that is so infectious and when the younger lads see what he is doing it makes them redouble their efforts,” Tomás said.
On St. Faithleach’s, he had this to say: “If you are sitting up in the stand as a neutral you would say this is going to be a cracking match. They are a fine team. They are solid at the back and they have powerful runners through the middle and up front of course you have the Murtagh brothers, who are class.
“But Faithleach’s have a full unit of forwards who are all good players and they have more good players coming off the bench so we will be tackling the entire forward unit and working from there – so let’s see how it goes,” he concluded.