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Teacher McBride has finished his homework on All-Ireland rivals Cork

By Declan Bogue

Try as he might, Ciaran 'Dinky' McBride couldn't quite find himself enjoying his Monaghan Under-21 side's victory over Tyrone in the Ulster final a couple of weeks ago.

The reason for that was obvious, as he was managing against Feargal Logan, Peter Canavan and Brian Dooher, three men who he soldiered alongside for his native Tyrone for years.

"I was very uncomfortable, to tell you the truth," he said in regards to that impressive win at the Athletic Grounds. "Not only to manage against a Tyrone team, but to manage against three of your ex-colleagues is not the most comfortable of situations.

"But the Monaghan county board and in particular the Monaghan county chairman have been very loyal and supportive of me personally.

"It was nice to be able to reward them for the loyalty and support they have shown me.

"It's something you have to learn to do if you are working outside of your own county and the two come up against each other. That's something you have to cope with. It's not nice, it's not something I enjoyed doing. I certainly don't like seeing Tyrone not winning."

Now, the Omagh schoolteacher is plotting the downfall of Cork in today's All-Ireland semi-final (Tullamore, 4.30pm).

He had members of the management team present at the Munster final the night after the Ulster decider and they have compiled their dossier.

"They are a running team. They work exceptionally hard from what I have seen," McBride observed.

He notes the influence of full-forward Peter Kelleher, who gave Drew Wylie plenty to think about in a senior National League meeting a few weeks ago.

"Over the course of the game, Cork deserved the victory. They were very well organised in defence, very much in an Ulster way.

"And they broke in numbers. They were very like Tyrone in that sense in that everybody knows their job and what they are doing. But they also have the opportunity to kick in the high ball on top of the full-forward who is the old, stereotypical full-forward."

In a forward line that also featured Canavan and Stephen Lawn, McBride won two Under-21 All-Ireland titles under Danny Ball and Frank Martin in 1991 and 1992.

All his memories are of playing uncomplicated football and hard training games at their Brackaville base.

"We stuffed Kerry in the first one and we had a real ding-dong battle with Galway in the second. We beat Kerry in the semi-final of the second one and it was a battle," he explained.

"I was blessed. Pete was on one side of me and Stephen Lawn was on the other. You couldn't have asked for two better men to play with.

"I know it might not mean anything to anybody now, but for me they were household names at the time. They were unbelievable players.

"We had the firepower and we certainly had wee Pete. No matter what happened, and I remember a few tough games in the Ulster Championship, he always pulled us out of a hole."

Belfast Telegraph


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