Castletown Geoghegan manager Alan Mangan in buoyant mood after Sunday’s SHC ‘A’ semi-final win over Raharney. PHOTO: JOHN MCCAULEY

Mangan relishing Clonkill test

Gerry Buckley reports

Alan Mangan will join a select group on October 2 when he wears the bainisteoir bib for his native Castletown-Geoghegan in the Westmeath senior hurling final, having also managed Tyrrellspass to a county football final.

The popular former dual player was understandably delighted with his hurling charges’ dethroning of Raharney last Sunday in TEG Cusack Park. After the match, he initially stated: “We played very well in the second half. It was a bit of a mixed bag in the first half. I asked questions of the lads at half-time, and I don’t think you want to know what I was saying to them!”

He went on to expand as follows: “We started well with Peter Clarke’s goal, but sometimes you end up sitting back for a few minutes after an early goal and Raharney rattled off the next three points, and it was 1-0 to 0-3.

“Overall, in the first half we hadn’t been finishing chances and the ball wasn’t going to the man in the best position all the time. Our defence tightened up also in the second half.

“Kieran Glennon pulled off a couple of great saves. I was full forward when we won the championship in 2013 and he was corner forward. He has made the transformation to goalie very well. He has a good puck-out and he’s brave. He has every attribute that you want in a goalkeeper.”

Mangan sportingly acknowledged the excellence of Raharney’s All Star nominee Killian Doyle, opining: “He scored a couple of wonder points in the first half, but the two Doyles have wrists on them like nearly no one else in the country. It wasn’t that we weren’t marking them. They are always going to score those wonder points.

“Also, we conceded lots of frees and we were up against the best free-taker in the country. Killian generally misses nothing.”

He continued: “In fairness, our lads came out all guns blazing in the second half and answered all the questions that I asked. They are a great bunch of lads. They have a great attitude to training, and we have a great management team.

“Our subs did very well. You make substitutions and you hope that they work. They worked today. We’ve used 23 or 24 in the senior championship and I’d have no problem calling on any one of the lads in the stand, and now a few of the intermediates, to do a job for us. The intermediate team was unfortunately beaten yesterday.”

Looking ahead to the Westmeath Examiner Cup decider, the 2004 Delaney Cup medallist stated: “We’ve nothing won yet. Clonkill beat us by ten points earlier in the year and they’re going to be a major challenge for us.

“Unfortunately, poor old Neal Kirby knocked his shoulder out of place in a challenge match and he’s going to be out for a few weeks. Apart from him, we hope to keep everyone else injury-free before the county final. Every team gets injuries.

“Raharney were missing Eoin Keyes today, and I’m sure Clonkill have lads injured too. You just have to put with them, but we have a strong bench as I said.”

In conclusion, Mangan echoed the hopes of all Lake County Gaels when he said: “It will be a right good game in the county final.”