Wednesday 13 November 2019

Battle of Bridge will be family affair for Glavin

Moorefield boss eyeing rare hat-trick before taking up Lilies role

Ross Glavin. Photo: Sportsfile
Ross Glavin. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Not only will Sunday's Kildare SFC final see a town divided as the war of the flags wages in Newbridge, but it will also see households split as bitter rivals Moorefield and Sarsfields collide in a titanic derby clash.

There's nothing quite like the club championships to throw up the scenario that pits husband against wife and that's the unenviable position which Moorefield boss Ross Glavin finds himself in this weekend.

Glavin's wife Emma (née Campbell) hails from the other side of the tracks in the town and while football isn't her chief priority, her birthday will be spent in St Conleth's Park where her loyalties will be divided.

"I don't know what to say now to be honest," Glavin jokes. "The father-in-law (Tom Campbell) was a Sarsfields senior selector when I was playing with Moorefield from 2008 to 2010 so it's not completely unusual to happen in Newbridge in modern times.

"She pretends that she's not really interested, she'd keep away from the football as much as possible but deep down I know she'll be rooting for her husband this weekend."

The stakes could hardly be higher as the Moores - powered in attack by county star Adam Tyrrell - set their sights on the Dermot Bourke Cup for the third year in succession with Sarsfields the last club to achieve that notable feat back in 1950-'52.

Flavour

There's always an "extra flavour" when the arch rivals do battle but Glavin has little interest in getting sucked into any sideshows as he sets his gaze on another Kildare crown, which could open the door for another Leinster triumph.

GAA Newsletter

Expert GAA analysis straight to your inbox.

"The players are treating it as another game. It's business as usual, they want to take care of business this weekend and get going with a Leinster championship is the way the players are looking towards it," Glavin says.

"The opposition's motivation this weekend might be to stop us winning three in a row but our motivation is to take care of business. In fairness to the players, they're a hard-working group and they're very ambitious.

"It was always about setting that bar a bit higher and achieving that little bit more outside of Kildare at provincial and national level. That was always the dream and we've planned again to get further down the road this year but you can't get there if you don't win three-in-a-row."

Having been named as part of Jack O'Connor's backroom team with Kildare after the pair struck up a successful relationship with Moorefield - where O'Connor's sons Eanna and Cian play - it's a busy time for Glavin.

However, his training in the Defence Forces and time spent overseas before moving into the Air Corps has given him a good grounding and helps to ensure that sight isn't lost of the important job at hand.

"There'll be plans going on behind the scenes but I have to park it (Kildare) to one side. I've given Moorefield my full commitment over the last three years and that's not going to change until this journey ends.

"We were building to win more this year and we're trying to get the best out of the group. Our stock has probably risen provincially and nationally because of our success and I don't want that journey to end."

At just 34, Glavin is one of the younger breed in management while his opposite number Davy Burke is three years his junior and juggling his role as the new Wicklow manager.

Sarsfields had the edge when the sides clashed in August and Glavin knows what awaits them having been frustrated with a style which he feels is aimed at "niggling away at us to slow the pace of the game".

He says: "They're a completely different style to ourselves in the way they play. They're obviously a little bit more defensive-orientated than what we'd be, we're a team that moves the ball and attacks at a lot of speed.

Tighter

"Whereas they probably set up a little bit tighter and they probably look to slow the game down a little bit. I suppose they strategically foul to slow the game down and get bodies in front of the free-kick taker.

"They're just looking to niggle away at us so the pace of the game is a bit slower so they can get bodies behind the ball. We'll have to be patient to break them down and mind the ball and keep it out of contact. It'll be interesting because there is two contrasting styles between both teams.

Although five years his senior at 39, Ronan Sweeney is still making an impact on the pitch for Moorefield with Glavin paying tribute to the evergreen 'Roli' as he targets a tenth county medal in his 13th final.

"A good friend of mine and he's still going strong, it's probably no coincidence that he put in his best performance off the bench against Athy in the semi-final two weeks ago," Glavin says of the former Kildare star.

"I think he's peaking to have a good impact and influence in this game. He's a great clubman, he gives everything to the club and deserves everything he has received in return."

Glavin would love to help Sweeney reach double figures and depart as manager with a third Kildare title but local derbies rarely go to script and fireworks are expected along the way.

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: 'Jim Gavin has achieved what Mick O'Dwyer and Brian Cody couldn't do'

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport