McGeever hoping hurling defeat can spur Tipp dual aces
Published 16/09/2015 | 02:30
The training habits of Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa and the fortunes of Finn Harps don't usually make it into pre-All-Ireland final interviews but then Charlie McGeever has taken the road less travelled.
And maybe that makes him the ideal candidate to guide Tipperary's latest batch of talented youngsters, a handful of whom have already played in the Electric Ireland All-Ireland hurling final a fortnight ago.
From his own playing days, McGeever knows a thing or two about double-jobbing.
He's a Donegal man but also the Tipperary minor manager who saw much of his playing career dominated by soccer. In fact, he was good enough at it to be invited to London by Spurs.
"I went over for the summer after they won the FA Cup in 1982, a World Cup Year," McGeever recalled. "The two boys (Ardiles and Villa) were late back as people would tend to be for pre-season and we were in doing it.
"(Glenn) Hoddle and some of them were a bit late. I remember going out on the Monday morning doing the training session and (Keith) Burkinshaw set it up that it would be a running session, a seriously hard running session.
"And Villa just blew everybody away. For a fella who was a very laid-back character, he came back in unbelievable shape and just blew everybody away - that was the end of that argument. Everybody thought they wouldn't be back in any shape and the talk was they are coming back Monday and they are going to get some dogging. I think he won every run that day.
"It was a privilege, a great Spurs team. It was nice to see World Cup winners in action. I spent the summer there and came back and did the cruciate in a Gaelic match I wasn't supposed to play in and that was that. End of story. I was 20 at the time. I played until I was 33 or 34 with one-and-a-half legs."
McGeever was a noted Gaelic footballer too. Donegal reached the Ulster U-21 final in 1981, the same year he lined out for Sligo Rovers in the FAI Cup final. McGeever was midfield and captain with Donegal that day, playing alongside Packie Bonner's twin Denis. Monaghan won by two points but a cruciate injury ruled him out of the following year when they went all the way and won the All-Ireland.
"I was watching that rather than playing and consequently the same group won the All-Ireland in '92 and you are watching that as well. Yes, you had decisions to make but they were naturally made in that sense."
His own experience helps him empathise with the plight of his young dual stars, some of whom will have spent the last fortnight licking their wounds after defeat to Galway in the hurling.
One of them is waging war on three fronts. Alan Tynan won a Leinster senior schools cup medal with Roscrea earlier this year and is back in Croke Park for the second time in a fortnight.
"The story is how's he being managed. Exceptionally well is the answer, no matter what way you look at it. Everybody would have their own take on it. He played an exceptional game against Galway in the football, outstanding in the minor All-Ireland semi-final when he moved to centre-forward and turned the tide.
"He went over and played with Leinster schools in England and my understanding is he scored two tries and kicked five out of six shots, scored 20-odd points, so that went well. He played in the hurling semi-final, and final, what a summer. He's managed it all, played them all, hasn't been anyway affected by it."