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Attitude is the key for Cathal Sheridan

Story by Jimmy Geoghegan

Friday, 29th September, 2017 4:00pm

Attitude is the key for Cathal Sheridan

If any further evidence is needed to highlight just how difficult it can be to win a county SHC medal you only have to reflect a moment on the playing career of Kiltale manager Cathal Sheridan.

He enjoyed a protacted spell as a senior hurler - mostly as a half-back or a midfielder, with his career with Kiltale spanning from 1989 to a few years ago when he filled in as reserve goalkeeper.

He still loves playing and this year turned out for the Kiltale intermediate team in the championship at the ripe young age of 44 and there's no indication he's ready to hang up the stick just yet.
“I think most of it is down to attitude, I do some training myself, but attitude gets you through matches more than anything else, that determination to play,” he told the Meath Chronicle.

He won an All-Ireland SHC B medal with Meath in 1993 when current camogie boss John Davis was at the helm.

He also turned out for the county footballers under Sean Boylan - playing in NFL and O'Byrne Cup games. Unusually he also had a spell with Kildare senior footballers when he lived for a time in Kilcock, another indication he was certainly no slouch when it came to the big-ball game. He, of course, also played football for Moynalvey and Summerhill. 

Yet there is a real sense from him that down the years it was the small-ball game that offered him the greatest level of enjoyment - and yet in all the years of trying he only was on the field of play for Kiltale once when the club landed the Jubilee Cup. That was in 2007, the club's third crown.

Sheridan was too young in 1982 and '83 when Kiltale joined the golden circle of double SHC winners, but he remembers the excitement in the local area surrounding the team's triumphs.

During his playing days Sheridan performed under a wide range of managers. Now, in his first year as Kiltale's senior supremo, he's the one walking up and down the touchline, making the calls, drawing on the bits and pieces of information he observed and stored away over the years.

He doesn't hesitate when asked what is the greatest quality a manager can have?

“Players,” he answered without a second's hesitation.

“I'm a firm believer in that a manager is only as good as the players he has,” he added.

“Otherwise it's just about putting the structures around training to make sure you try and get the best out of the players you have. I'm lucky with the group of players I have, they're self-driven, self-motivated.”

The Kiltale boss is not reading too much into the fact that Kiltale have already defeated Kildalkey in the SHC. That was in the first round and it seems so far away now. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then, a lot of hurling played.

“We started well enough in that game, and got ahead of them early on, then they got back into it in the second-half it was tight, it was a very competitive game.

“We started the same 15 in the semi-final that we started in that first game against Kildalkey, we're lucky that way. 

“The final will be a very different game, finals are always different to the kind of games teams might have played early in the championship. Kildalkey have certainly improved since.”

He doesn't believe it's a burden that his team will be favourites for Saturday's showdown. He says his troops are experienced, level-headed, gutsy and well able to deal with such expectations to go with being champions.

Sheridan will be on the line guiding matters, but you get the feeling he'd love to be out there on the pitch striving for another SHC medal to add to the that sweet triumph 10 years ago. 

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