Tuesday 24 April 2018

Extending season proves to be right call for McEneaney

John Savage

WITH his speech and celebration pictures out of the way the enormity of clinching a Leinster club title slowly started to dawn on Gers captain Jim McEneaney.

'It's unreal, going up to get a Leinster trophy in Parnell Park with all your mates,' he said. 'We were told over the last few weeks that only one team from Louth has won a Leinster and that gives you a sense of what it means to the county. Someone had to cross the line eventually I suppose and it's great to be able to do it for ourselves and for the county.'

Injury dictated that the provincial campaign very nearly passed the Louth star by, but once Geraldines reached the final, McEneaney was always going to play some part.

'I was struggling with different injuries, but It was more my stomach than my groin and I got an injection in that a couple of weeks after the county final. It came along well and the knees were getting better, and even though I had planned not to play for the rest of the year, it's a provincial final.

'It was torture watching down in Wexford and when the Leinster final came along I pushed on a bit and did two weeks of rehab and running to get back. Then I had an extra week for this.'

McEneaney managed a full game this time around, but the captain felt there were other important differences between teh drawn game and Sunday's clash.

'We gave an awful lot of ball away last week and maybe it was nerves. This time we'd already been in a Leinster final and we were a lot more composed, and coming out of defence in the last fifteen minutes against the wind the lads were superb. We did okay up front but I think it was at the back that we really improved from last week and they learned that keeping possession was crucial.'

He didn't see much of it, but McEneaney felt that seeing fellow forward Glen Trainor emerging from a pile of bodies after Naomh Olaf's late goal chance spurred everyone on.

'I was a long way away, but it's unbelievale to see Glen Trainor getting up from the net after it. He's a corner forward causing them all sorts of problems and he's back there diving on a lads foot.

'I don't know how it didn't go in, but it definitely gave us a lift. Last week we were concentrating the whole time on getting level, but this week when we were ahead with time almost up it was a different attitude because we didn't need to make something happen, we just needed to settle and keep the ball and we did that well.'

With an All-Ireland semi-final coming up at the end of January, McEneaney will get another 6-7 week's rest, with the liklehood being that Aidan O'Rourke will leave Him and Gerard Hoey to concentrate on club matters.

'It's the 26th/27th January, so I'll just go back to the rehab. The stomach problem hasn't flared up at all, but the knees are still causing me problems and that's something long term I'll have to get sorted.

'The club season isn't over. Leinster titles don't come around too often and All-Irelands are even rarer, so I don't think I can let that opportunity slip by.'

The Argus