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Kilcoo boss McIver ramps up mind games with McGleenan

By Declan Bogue

Kilcoo manager Paul McIver has turned up the dial on the mindgames ahead of their Ulster Club Championship preliminary round clash against Scotstown, insisting that the Monaghan side's preparations have been hampered by manager Mattie McGleenan accepting the vacant role in Cavan last weekend.

The Down champions are outsiders for the tie, but McIver believes that the time McGleenan spent on pursuing the Cavan job will have a detrimental effect on his squad ahead of tomorrow's game (Clones, 2.30pm).

"It's going to have a massive bearing. It's massive for the Scotstown players that they know he's not going to be about next year," the Ballinderry man claimed.

Pointing to the example of his predecessor at the Down club, McIver explained: "Kilcoo would have said that over Jim McCorry - once he was announced as the Down manager they would have felt that all of a sudden there was a change in attitude, a change of expectations.

"No matter what people say, management is a lot of work. Mattie has obviously been taking part in interviews and going to get a backroom team. That would have taken a wee bit of focus away from Scotstown.

"So yeah, I think it would have had a massive bearing on Scotstown preparations regardless of what they have to say," added McIver.

In the world of carefully-managed soundbites and managers being careful not to provide material that the opposition can 'pin to the dressing room wall' for motivation, this kind of straight-talking is most unusual.

However, McIver insists he is only being honest.

"Let's be honest, it's a massive, massive undertaking. You don't go into an interview with the Cavan County Board having not spent three or four days beforehand, preparing it, getting your backroom team, getting your questions right.

"That's time that Mattie McGleenan has spent where his focus has not been on Kilcoo."

With Crossmaglen out of the Ulster club picture, many would see this fixture as the de-facto Ulster club final. Whoever survives after this will be in pole position to claim the Seamus McFerran Cup.

Having won Down for the last five seasons, there is a sense that Kilcoo could go one better than their Ulster final defeat to Crossmaglen in 2012.

"Kilcoo have worked very hard to have been successful in the last five years," McIver acknowledged.

"All the expectation is in Scotstown. Mattie McGleenan has said on numerous times during the year that this is the year for Scotstown to deliver an Ulster.

"We are just looking one match at a time."

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