herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Pat brings belief back to the Navan Road flock

PAT McDonagh (above) loves the game. He brings the passion of the North County to the dugout. And wisdom too.

He played and managed at his beloved Fingal Ravens. He's still there behind the scenes.

Last season he led Newtown Blues to Louth gold.

He's now enjoying life on the Navan Road. He has guided St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh back to the final.

Many felt that, perhaps, their best days were over. Two finals came and went.

And then there was a little lull. But now the lustre has definitely returned.

Their big first round result against Kilmacud Crokes brought Plunkett's back into the Dublin GAA chat rooms.

And when they knocked out another heavyweight, Ballymun Kickhams, they were very much the talk of the town.

"Yes, we are doing it the hard way," states Pat. "Knocking out Kilmacud and Ballymun. "St Jude's are no slouches either. We beat them comfortably in the end, but it was only in the last few minutes that we pulled away.

DOGGED

"St Anne's were also very dogged. They set up defensively, and when that happens you just have to be patient."

The Plunkett's recovery is all about belief. And that comes from the head chef.

"We have a very honest bunch. They work hard and they are determined."

Plunkett's have been troubling teams with their system which sees them defend in depth and then break with pace.

And now an intriguing final awaits against the All-Ireland champions, St Vincent's.

It will draw a bumper Bank Holiday Monday night attendance to Parnell Park.

But Pat is not a fan of the lights. "No, I'm disappointed that it is being played under the lights.

"I think championship football should be played in the afternoon…in the day-light," offers the Plunkett's chief.

"But in saying that, there should be a huge crowd."

And he predicts that they will have much to discuss over the supper.

"Dublin football is just tremendous. You are talking about such quality players.

"These are fit, strong athletic guys with wonderful skill. They are serious footballers.

"They have come up through the ranks. The standard of Dublin football is just so high."

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