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Mindset is vital - Pillar

FORMER Dublin boss Paul Caffrey reckons these final few days before Sunday's eagerly-anticipated All-Ireland final could prove crucial to the mindset of the players on match day.

Caffrey managed Dublin to two All-Ireland semis in 2006 and '07 and also oversaw Na Fianna's run to an All-Ireland club final in 2001 and so knows the perils and pitfalls of preparing for an occasion such as Sunday.

“Sunday is nearly upon us but managing player's time in between training sessions is nearly the hardest thing,” he told the Herald. “They're actually very happy when they're together in the build up to big matches - that's where players are most comfortable.”

Pat Gilroy has already stated that supporters have been more inclined to “give players their space” this year and insisted that that, in turn, has helped defuse some of the pressure on his team but Caffrey has warned that it is virtually impossible to protect players every minute of the day.

“It's when they're away from the group that they find time hard to kill. Invariably, the phone is ringing and there are requests for tickets. Well-wishers, by extension, become an annoyance because everybody is saying the same thing.”

“I'm gone three years now and every second person I meet is asking me, ‘Pillar, any chance of a ticket?' So you can imagine what the present set-up are going through and how they're being annoyed and while people try and do their best and stay away, a lot don't.”

Caffrey also feels that Kerry's greater recent experience of finals is bound to have worked in their favour over the three-and-a-half weeks since they beat Mayo.

“The difference with Kerry is, if you're going through that year-in, year-out, you get used to how to manage it,” Caffrey noted.

JOHN McINTYRE has stepped down as Galway hurling manager after three years in charge.

“In my hearts of hearts, I knew the game was up for John McIntyre and this management team when we fell so disappointingly to Waterford in Thurles,” he explained. “It was a dispiriting defeat, there are no excuses, but I would say that the players did not go out to perform badly.”

Galway’s All-Ireland U21 winning manager Anthony Cunningham has been strongly linked as a successor.