GER McMANUS: ‘WE FELL SHORT AGAINST KILMACUD CROKES BUT WE’VE LEARNED FROM IT’.
THE proof of the pudding was in the performance. That was the priority all year for St Jude’s.
It brought them to the threshold of glory. A flick of the wrist away from the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship title.
Ger McManus was a pillar of their memorable adventure. A leading Lighthouse in an outstanding defence.
It was that bricks and mortar that saw the Templeogue club overcome O’Toole’s in a fascinating semi-final. It was the first time Jude’s had reached the last four.
“All season, we stressed about the need to perform. If we delivered a performance, we were happy with ourselves. And once we did that, the result could look after itself,” explains Ger.
In the Championship final, they had Kilmacud on the back foot. Crokes were relieved to force extra-time.
“We probably fell a bit short in the last five minutes of the final. But we have learnt from that.
“We said before the final that once we did ourselves justice by our performance, we could live with any result.”
Following the game, Ger and his colleagues stood out on the turf to applaud the Crokes captain, Seán McGrath, as he lifted the New Ireland Cup.
In the chilly Donnycarney night air, there was understandable disappointment on the sweat of their brows, but a certain fulfilment too.
And the season wasn’t over. For Jude’s it was all about getting themselves ready for the AHL Division 1 final.
They met Kilmacud Crokes again. This time the prize headed back to their home, Tymon North.
“It was a nice way to finish the season. We had been consistent all year. We finished top of the table, so it would have been a shame if we had lost the League at the final hurdle,” adds McManus.
“It meant a lot to the team, and the club, to have won it. It was important that we got something out of the season.
“And our display that day reinforced our belief that if you focus on delivering a performance, and not on the result, then things can go well for you.”
Ger now has the boots polished for the Dublin Bus/Herald Dubs Stars tussle against Dublin in Parnell’s this Thursday (12.30).
And he’s confident that the new man in town, Ger Cunningham, will do a solid job with the county.
“I’d have great faith in Ger Cunningham and the rest of his management for what they can do, and what they have done in the past.”
Like the former Cork custodian, McManus knows all about the role of the last man standing.
In a former life, he was a goalkeeper. And good enough to gain Dublin minor and U21 recognition.
He made his senior debut between the posts for Jude’s when he was only 16. “We were playing in Division 2 then,” he recalls.
Then one day at college in DIT, a fork in the road led him to leaving the castle.
“DIT were stuck for a full-back. Joe Fortune, our manager, asked me to fill-in, and that’s how it happened.
“I prefer playing out-field now. You are more involved in the play.
“In goal, you have to wait for the game to come to you. It all depends on how a match is going.
“You could be busy one day, and have nothing to do the next. Out the field, you are involved from the first minute to the last.”
Now the aim for Jude’s is to stay involved on the top floor of Dublin hurling.
“It’s lovely to see how the team has grown and developed over the years.
“It’s good that we are able to compete against the big clubs, clubs that have beaten us over the years.
“Our goal is to try and stay up there and to remain consistent. And winning the League has increased our hunger even more.”
As a child, Ger loved watching the Jude’s adult hurlers giving it their all. They were his hurling heroes.
“They had a bigger influence on me than any big-name hurler because they were closer to me and I could see them at first hand.”
Time, like the sliotar, spins quickly, and now Ger is a role model for the new Jude’s generation.(The Herald)