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McGinnity bids to take Roslea to next level

By Declan Bogue

A fortnight before, he found himself standing in the middle of Croke Park, sandwiched between Willie Joe Padden and Eugene McKenna, being honoured as one of the 'Team of the Decade' from the '80s at the All-Ireland final.

On Sunday, he was still as relevant in the world of football as Peter McGinnity led Roslea Shamrocks to their third Fermanagh county Championship in four years.

With that kind of record, no wonder the mind may ruminate on the possibilities. A week ago it was revealed that the county board had received no nominations for the vacant inter-county manager's position. McGinnity had previously been a player-manager in the late 80s and had a spell in charge of Leitrim in the mid-90s, but having turned 60 and recently-retired, he shows no appetite to put himself back in that realm.

On being asked if now that the club final was out of the way if he had a change of heart on going for the job, he joked with reporters, "I can't believe, at the final whistle, just as my heart was settling ... (that he would be asked that).

"It's certainly not something for today, but I think most of you know my feelings on that subject. I have to get my dinner, I haven't eaten a thing since 1 o'clock today!"

McGinnity likes to keep things light like that. But to study his Roslea team is to observe a machine in a constant state of flux. Totemic midfielder James Sherry was shunted to wing-forward before stationing himself as sweeper for the last 10 minutes of the first-half.

In the second-half, he moved back into a decluttered midfield, catching the ball cleanly from kick-outs and the throw-in eight times in a remarkable performance.

At times, burly attacker Seamus Quigley came out from full-forward to contest kickouts.

Asked about those positional switches changes, McGinnity replies: "That move was Seamies.

"But he does that, and he wins ball. James Sherry, Seamie Quigley and those boys ... Look, I said this one time before, anything that worked, was a tactic. So if somebody asks what was my tactics, I say 'Anything that worked as a tactic.' And I'm not sure what they were!"

False modesty for a man who has won Tyrone county titles as manager of Errigal Ciaran and Killyclogher by being the sharpest operator on the sidelines.

Sherry (pictured), the man who has ventured up the steps in Brewster Park three times to accept the New York Cup, was willing to explain what was going on in more detail.

"We probably had too many big men out around the middle. We had Seamy coming out, I was out, Kevin (Cosgrove) was out. Nobody was taking ownership. I thought that was a bit of a thing so I just said to Peter, 'here, try and keep the boys inside as long as you can for the second half.' I wanted to step up myself and lucky enough I was able to do that."

Roslea had come into this game under a measure of scrutiny. They played Belcoo in a league fixture a fortnight before and actually failed to score in the entire game, fielding a severely-depleted side. Holding his cards close like that earned McGinnity a rebuke in the local newspapers, and between that and managing injuries to Peter Lynch, Peter Sherry and Kevin Cosgrove, he said, "All told, I have had the most unbelievably difficult four weeks. I got a bit of slagging from the press but at the end of the day it was all about Roslea.

"In our 125th year, whether you like it or not, is a little bit of pressure. Somewhere in the background it is hovering there. So we have the Junior Championship trophy and the Senior Championship trophy to put on that table."

Four weekends from now, they will enter the Ulster club fray against the winners of Ballinagh and Cavan Gaels. Now that they have established themselves in their own county, a win in Ulster is now due.

"There is no point talking about it, we have to go and do it now," are Sherry's intentions.

McGinnity revealed: "We would like to represent Fermanagh as well as we can. But, it's not easy for a Fermanagh team."

Logistics will hamper Roslea. For example, one of their key men is Peter Sherry, who lives and works in London, and has to make the journey home every weekend

Belfast Telegraph


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