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McPhillips pleased as Shercock make major strides after disappointing 2020

By Niall Gartland

SHERCOCK narrowly missed out on a place in the Division Two semi-finals, but their new manager Paddy McPhillips is understandably delighted with the progress they have made so far this year.

They endured a miserable 2020, failing to win a single game in league or championship, and another former Shercock player – Darragh Roe – decided to vacate the post at the end of the season.

They struggled to find a new manager, so McPhillips answered the SOS call and you’d have to say it’s working out rather well for all concerned.

McPhillips said: “We’ve had a great league campaign given last year we didn’t win a game at all, league or championship.

“We couldn’t get management this year, we looked around and nobody wanted the gig, so I was coaxed into doing it.

“Darragh just had enough, he’s a good mate of mine. I was talking to him last year and he thought there was more in the boys and that he didn’t get enough from them, you know yourself, it’s hard when you’re not winning and everything’s going against you so he just said no. He has young kids and everything so he said he’ll take a break from it.”

This is McPhillip’s first foray into the world of management, though he’s given his brother Fra a hand at various clubs.

“My brother was over us in 2017 when we won the Cavan Intermediate title. He went to Kingscourt for a year, and Corduff and Belturbet and I suppose I’d have been in the stand helping out.

“I was going to be a selector for Shercock this year, but we couldn’t find anyone so I took the hot seat and in fairness I’ve got a good response from the players.

“Before Christmas we brought in a running trainer, so we got the boys pretty fit over lockdown and got a great run in the league.

“We didn’t make the semi-finals but we got four wins, a draw and lost two games – we’re making progress. Hopefully now we can stay injury free and our aim in the championship is basically to stay up.”

Shercock haven’t exactly been making waves since achieving promotion to the Senior Championship four years ago – they needed relegation play-off victories to stay up in 2018 and 2019, while they were arguably fortunate that there was no relegation last year. Two teams will be relegated this season, and they have a tough start to the championship with a group stage game against last year’s beaten champions Kingscourt.

“Kingscourt are one of the kingpins of Cavan football so we’re under no illusions as to the task that’s ahead of us. Hopefully we can come out of it injury free if nothing else as our bench would be fairly light compared to the bigger teams in the Senior Championship.

“I actually played together with their manager Finbar Reilly when I was part of the Cavan u-21 team back in 1998, the years don’t be long coming around. I also played my last game for Shercock in 2018 against Kingscourt. It was my final farewell I suppose and I was just mad to be part of things so that’s why I came in this year.

“I suppose that’s what the GAA’s about, you want to be part of things and to give things back to your club. Things are going well but hopefully we can stay up and that would end things off nicely for the season.”

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