Mark McGeown. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
"I haven’t really thought about it or lifting the trophy or anything like that. We just need to go out, play the game and hope that things fall into place. And if we do it, the few words should come naturally.”
He may be captain of the favourites to win Sunday’s Intermediate Football Championship, but Mark McGeown insists he hasn’t given any thoughts to lifting the Seamus Flood Cup. Like his playing style, his speech will be ‘off the cuff’ if the Castletown side get over the line this weekend.
“Our aim at the start of the year after getting into Division One was to stay up and to then give the championship a good go,” McGeown told the Dundalk Democrat.
“Playing in Division One and at that higher standard against teams who are playing in the Senior Championship, it stands to you and now that we’re back in the Intermediate final, we’d be hoping to go one better than in other years.
“We set ourselves the target of hitting the ground running in the league and we achieved that, but you can be beaten in any game Intermediate Championship game as the Brides showed against us earlier in the championship.
“We had a bit of a dip in the league coming into that game having drawn with the Dreadnots and won three or four on the bounce, and then it didn’t work out for us against the Brides, but we got ourselves prepared for Na Piarsaigh, then Hunterstown and for the Mattock game in the semi-final obviously.”
Beaten in three finals since 2011, each of which were painful in their own way, McGeown points to the most recent of those defeats as being the most painful.
“The drawn game against Kilkerley,” he said with intent.
“We probably should have won it with the chances, particularly the goal chances we had. But it went to a replay and obviously we didn’t win that one.
“I suppose on any given day in a final things can go either way and this year is no different. All we can really do between now and Sunday is to keep working hard and get ourselves in the best possible shape to win it.
“We’re going into the game having not played the O’Connell’s this year, but we have plenty of competitive games under our belts. The Mattock game, like it could have went either way and we were delighted to have come out on the right side of it.
“Even though we wanted to get playing at a higher level in the league, it’s hard to gauge how big of a gap there is between the Division One and Two teams. There’s very little between the teams in the bottom-half of Division One and the top-half of Division Two.
“We saw that by losing to the Brides. Just because the O’Connell’s are in Division Two and we’re in Division One, doesn’t mean we’re going to turn up and win on Sunday,” he stressed.
Part of the Clans’ panel in their last season competing for Joe Ward, 2006, McGeown knows they have fallen short of the bar set by the successful teams and players who preceded him.
“Myself, Paul Gore, Ray McCabe, Fitzer (Stephen Fitzpatrick) and JJ Quigley, we have had three finals and have won none of them,” McGeown added.
“Growing up the Clans were used to winning things and when we came into the team, you kind of thought it was going to last forever.
“We probably should have won more than we have done too. The Clans were a force back then, but as we have found out, success doesn’t last forever. Hopefully, it’s our time to bring it back, though,” he quipped.