‘It’s always about the players’
The name Johnny Greville has loomed large in the rise and rise of Westmeath camogie in recent years. However, the Raharney man was very keen to deflect the credit for the Lake County’s progress to the players when he spoke to the media at last Friday’s press night in TEG Cusack Park.
At the outset, the manager stated: “We’re all very excited about being in the intermediate final and are looking forward to it.
“It’s fantastic to be in Croke Park again, as this was our goal all year. We’re one step from maybe making a bit of history.
“The girls have put in a massive amount of work, we’ve had ups and downs all year and have come through a lot of battles. We try not to look back and not look too much forward either, but the girls will be well prepared.
“If you look at it in context that the girls were in a junior final two years ago against Dublin, and to push on and be an intermediate final now against Galway, it’s just fantastic.”
Reflecting on the very progressive journey which his charges have made in the last three years, Greville opined: “We had to change the culture and change the mindsets when we took over a few years ago, and the girls bought into that.
“It’s never about the manager or the management team, it’s always about the players. We just facilitate them to give their best performance on any given day. They are getting the fruits of their labour now. They are just a fantastic bunch.”
The bainisteoir felt that learning from mistakes made in 2019 to date has helped the team to improve. “They have shown great character all year. Going back to the league semi-final defeat to Tipperary in Banagher, we learned from bits of mistakes we made that day and we knew we would build our summer after that,” he reflected.
Next Sunday’s opponents are very familiar foes. After Greville rhymed off details of previous encounters with the Tribes ladies, he added: “We made a few mistakes against Galway in the group game in Kinnegad which cost us, but we finished strongly and were probably unlucky not to come out with a result that day.
“Our games against Galway have been really, really tight over the past couple of years. There’s very little between both sets of players. It will probably be very similar in Croke Park. We know them well but we’re concentrating on ourselves.”
It will be a very busy afternoon for Cathal Murray and his Galway management team, as he takes charge of his county in both the intermediate final against Westmeath at 2pm, and immediately afterwards in the senior final against Kilkenny at 4.15pm.
However, Greville envisaged no advantage accruing to his team because of his opposing manager’s double-jobbing on the day.
“The two Galway teams are training together. The intermediates have seven players who are on the senior panel.
“It has been tough on Cathal and his management team throughout the year logistically, but the last time Galway were in the same situation in Croke Park, they came out and won both.
“But we’re in the way in the first match and we’re going to give it everything we possibly can to get across the line in our match. We know each other very, very well.
“Any manager now at inter-county level is ultra-organised and I am sure Cathal will be putting his shoulder behind both teams,” Greville concluded.