St Breckan’s will look to turn a good year for their club into a better one when they venture into Limerick to take on intermediate champions Galtee Gaels this Saturday in the Gaelic Grounds.
While St Breckan’s were ran mightily close by Kildysart in the Clare decider, they weren’t made to sweat nearly as much as their Limerick counterparts who endured a replay as well as a very tough game second time round before eventually seeing off Gerald Griffins by 1-11 to 0-12.
While manager Donie Garrihy is pleased with his squad’s response since their county final victory, he knows his side will need to be at their best to see off a battle-hardened Galtee Gaels.
“Unless we bring our A game to the Gaelic Grounds, we will be coming home beaten. They’re a strong side. They love their football; they were senior recently like us. They have stated on their GAA club Facebook page that they’re taking this tournament deadly serious. We won’t not be taking this seriously.
“Our selectors, coaches and some of our players went in to have a look at them in the Limerick county final but unfortunately I’d to do a bit of work. They had a good look and brought the information back – unless you’re willing to do a bit of homework in any sport you’re going nowhere,” Donie said.
When Donie took up the manager’s role with St Breckan’s in January, he demanded full commitment from all involved. While he couldn’t be happier with what have shown so far this year, Donie has urged his squad to push themselves to the limit, for the 2019 Munster championship, as well as into the 2020 senior campaign.
“We’re ready. We played U-21 championship last Saturday, and it was a bruising encounter, but thankfully we came through it, injury free. It can be stressful heading into a game thinking maybe this lad can play, maybe that one can’t, but we’ve none of that now. We also have Liam Tierney back after his injury in the county semi-final against St Joseph’s.
“The fans have been brilliant. I referenced Delia Smith saying ‘Let’s be having you’ to the Norwich fans after the county final but I turned it on my players. And in fairness to them, they have been full on. I couldn’t have asked them for more.
“It also prolongs our season, we’re just coming into the dark nights now, but we have this to look forward to. We also have an U-21 final to look ahead to and if we’re lucky this Saturday, we will have a home semi-final. It’s a win-win situation,” continued Donie.
Anyone that knows Donie knows his passion for sport. Donie confessed though that he wasn’t aware of how much the Munster championship facet of a club’s season meant. While Donie says he knew the passion that existed in the Breckan’s parish for football, it was only through how many people have engaged with excitement in recent weeks that he has fully realised how much the provincial championship means.
“I didn’t realise that the Munster campaign is of such importance, but I know it now. Everyone I meet around the community is talking about it. I see this as being a reward for our players’ commitment since January. They’re now facing into a Munster quarter-final in the Gaelic Grounds where all the elite players play.
“Ten years ago, they were at this stage before and they got to a Munster final, so they know what it’s all about. People are really excited that winning this game would mean a home Munster semi-final in Lisdoonvarna, that has really caught people’s imagination,” Donie explained.
St Breckan’s are by no means letting the exciting possibility of a home Munster semi-final distract them from the difficult task of downing Galtee Gaels, but with the form St Breckan’s have shown this year, coupled with the work put in since the county final, they have a gilt-edged chance to make that home semi-final dream a reality.