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Scotstown bid to bounce back from county final blow

By Declan Bogue

Scotstown manager Mattie McGleenan freely admits that losing their Monaghan crown last year was his fault, down to allowing their "standards to slip".

The former Tyrone player is in the final season of a three-year spell in charge of the famous north Monaghan club, making rapid progress in that time in bringing them to their first county title in 20 years in 2013, and now just 60 minutes away from claiming their fifth Ulster club win.

However, he diagnoses last year's defeat to Clontibret as being down to the "success disease".

"We allowed standards to slip from the previous year in terms of our performance and our expectations. I would put that down to what I call success disease," said the Eglish man, who teaches in St Patrick's, Armagh.

"The first year was my first senior championship to have ever won, it was the players' first time in 20 years to win one and we probably got carried away in terms of the standard of performance that we would put in the next year.

"And then when you lose a county final by a point, you suddenly realise what you have missed and what you have let go. In fairness from that point on, the players have been outstanding in terms of training and their workrate."

That graft has been reflected in their record this season as they have only tasted defeat three times in all competitions. Next Friday, they are in the league final also.

Asked if there is any cure for the 'success disease', he answered: "It is not until you have lost and you are sitting in the dressing room the first night after losing the county final. It was a very dark room but there was a lot of very honest talk that night, in terms of mistakes that we had made, things that we needed to improve and everyone took responsibility which was fantastic."

Such restorative steps have them facing the most illustrious club of all in Crossmaglen tomorrow.

"This year we have done everything we have done to create the best environment for the players and now we are in an Ulster final," said McGleenan, who also led Monaghan Harps to a county junior title before his current posting.

"We are facing Crossmaglen who have been the best club team in Ireland for the last 10 years. This is a great place to be, you look at the Athletic Grounds and it is a wonderful place to play a game of football.

"I said to the boys already that they can expect the crowd to be down on top of them and the atmosphere will be electric. This is nothing to be afraid of, this is a place where it should be a wonderful experience to play in and the only way to have a wonderful time is to go out and play well."

In order to win, they will need to service Darren Hughes with quality ball in the full-forward line, and as a full-forward who was capable of using his physical strength himself, McGleenan is full of admiration for his man on the edge of the square.

Belfast Telegraph


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