John Maughan with Wicklow manager Alan Costello after Offaly's Tailteann Cup win.
OFFALY senior football manager John Maughan spoke about the importance of the Tailteann Cup for them after Sunday's easier than expected win over Wicklow in Tullamore.
Maughan commented: “We’re taking the competition very, very seriously. It’s a huge competition for the likes of an Offaly. We’re using it as a foundation for the transition of Offaly football, getting some of the younger players game time. We got a couple more in there today – Morgan Tyan, Cathal Flynn.
“Lee Pearson, all those young guys. Jack Bryant, Keith O’Neill. It’s a great competition for those in particular. You have Niall McNamee at the other end of the spectrum. He’s still such a great mentor. To have a guy of his stature coaching and talking to those boys is fantastic. We are up for it and we’re looking forward to the job tomorrow morning.”
The Mayo man admitted that he expected tougher opposition from a Wicklow side who had shown some good form in their earlier games.
Asked was he surprised by how comfortably Offaly won, he said:
“I was, to be honest with you. I thought it would come down to the home stretch. I was very impressed with the videos of Wicklow we watched, particular that score they put up against Laois in the championship. That certainly caught our attention. They were very impressive on that occasion and had a big emphatic win last week against Waterford.
“The thing I’ve noticed against Division Four teams is they’re well able to play football. Wicklow didn’t play as well – we didn’t let them play as well. Our work ethic and our tackling was huge all around the park. That’s something we have been focusing on. So from that perspective we are very happy, very encouraged and I can certainly see improvement.”
Maughan said they had no problem getting back after their championship defeat by Wexford.
“No. We took two weeks off after getting beaten by Wexford. We came back re-energised, refocused and ready to go. We only lost one from the squad. He opted out and that was fine. But everybody else was really keen on this competition.”
He agreed this was a good sign of the mentality of players.
“Exactly. It is because it can be tough down in the lower divisions. You’re not going to win in the short term a senior Leinster title or an All-Ireland. That’s not in the scheme of things. They’re a great bunch of lads. They love playing their football, it’s their choice of pleasures, it’s what they want to do and they’ve embraced it in a very professional way. They’re the same as any county team I’ve been involved in. they do everything we ask of them.”
Was the training any different for the Tailteann Cup than the Leinster championship?
“No. conditions are better, faster ground, all that kind of stuff. But no, we’ve managed the load. Going three consecutive Sundays, we’ll manage the load and only train once this week.”
He was asked about Lee Pearson's injury – the Edenderry man cramped suddenly while going for a ball in the 54th minute and it almost led to a Wicklow goal with Paddy Dunican making a fantastic save to deny Kevin Quinn. Pearson was carried over to the sideline after receiving extended treatment. It looked bad as no stretcher was brought out for him but Offaly may have been engaging in time wasting at that time as Cian Donoghue was off the field for a black card offence.
Maughan does not expect Pearson's injury to be serious but he did admit that the defender is cramping a lot. “It was the same down in Wexford, we have to get electrolytes into him. But he’s a good young footballer, very talented.”
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