Belfast Telegraph

Cavan manager Hyland worth keeping an eye on

By Declan Bogue

Perhaps it's time to throw a bit of light on Cavan manager Terry Hyland.

Two years ago he was asked about his rather circuitous route to becoming the-then co-manager of the county senior team, along with Val Andrews.

While in sole charge of the team back in the late 90's, Andrews got Hyland on board as selector and he was the chief scout on the ground. Together, they operated a policy of bringing in what they called 'good gasúns' for trials.

If a player was going well in club football, he would be given a try-out – no matter what his route to county football was, or if he hadn't been involved in the county underage structures.

It yielded players that could come in a for a few years at their absolute peak and perform. It was democratic and relied on an intimate knowledge of the club scene.

Off the back of that, Cavan reached the Ulster final in 2001. As a player for Lacken, he managed eighteen years with the seniors, before dropping down and playing a few seasons for the juniors in midfield alongside his son Mark.

By that stage he was in his mid-40s and had broken numerous bones in his body, all in the name of sport. Yet still he loved pulling on the county jersey for Masters football while juggling it with coaching.

"I'm not a high-profile kind of guy," he once said of his coaching career, spent mainly in charge of smaller, Intermediate clubs.

"I never cherry-pick. If a club asked me and they were a decent bunch of fellas I would go with them. I don't go looking for Championships. I always believe in the honest type of footballer. Sometimes you see these men who go around and get ticks on their CV's, and maybe my CV doesn't tick up the same as everybody else, but I'm a great believer in that if you display honesty, you'll get honesty."

Ten days ago he said after the win over Fermanagh: "I'm getting fond of saying this word and that's honesty but that's what's there, honesty and character and you can't build that, it's either in them or it's not ... these fellas have it in their genes."

Wherever his players go, he always makes sure there is a hot dinner waiting for them. He pays money out of his own pocket in his role as Cavan manager.

But he is nobody's idea of a media darling. He is a serious operator and a man on a mission. Keep an eye on him.

Belfast Telegraph

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