By Michael McMullan
GLEN manager Malachy O’Rourke has revealed his side has spent “very little” time practicing penalties as part of their preparation.
Sunday’s Ulster final clash with Kilcoo is expected to be every bit as tightly contested as last year’s extra-time clash of the teams.
The All-Ireland champions needed a penalty shoot-out to see off Clonduff in the Down quarter-final, but the Glen boss feels practising penalties in training isn’t realistic.
“I stand to be corrected on this but even looking at the soccer teams, there’s not one of those players who can’t stick the ball in the corner of the net at training,” he said.
“It’s the whole mental side of things when the pressure is on and being able to handle that. And you can’t really replicate that.”
The Glen players have been identified who would be taking the five kicks should it arise and they’ve done “a wee bit” on it.
“It wouldn’t be a thing we obsess over but look, who’s to say who’s right and who’s wrong…if it comes to pass, hopefully we will be prepared enough for it.”
O’Rourke also hoped that their trio of Conor Convery, Conor Glass and Eunan Mulholland, who sustained knocks in their win over Cargin, were expected to be back in training this week and he hopes to be selected from a full hand.
With possession close to ten tenths of the law in a game like this Sunday, composure could almost certainly be the order of the day. In their win over Ballybay, it was the influence of Darryl Branagan in the early stages that gave Kilcoo the platform.
It was similar to the Derry county final when Glen won the throw-in and prodded at Sleacht Néill until Conor Glass kicked a third-minute point with a similar spell of five minutes controlling the game at the start of the second half.
“All those wee margins are very important,” O’Rourke stated. “That day against Sleacht Néill, it was a case of being patient and not giving the ball away, and then when you score at the end of it is an added bonus.
“At the start of the second half we had got a good lead at that stage so there was no point forcing stuff and giving the ball away.
“It is very much that idea of when you have the ball trying to be patient, create the opening for yourself and then be clinical when you get in and make yourself hard to play against.
“In the last couple of games, there’s been a strong wind blowing and that makes you turn things around and play in different ways so there’s a lot of different variables there.
“But, certainly, it’s a case of trying to manage the ball as best you can when you’ve got it – and especially against a team like Kilcoo who are very muchcounter-attacking, you don’t want to be giving the ball away silly anyway.”