Flanagan ready for another Roscommon decider with Pearses
By Cian O’Connell
“I've been involved in managing football teams since 1995, I haven't missed out on any year,” Padraig Pearses manager Pat Flanagan remarks about his enduring passion for Gaelic Football.
Well versed in dealing with County Senior Finals, Flanagan has Pearses back in the Roscommon decider against St Brigid’s on Sunday, and continues to enjoy being involved in sport.
“Every team is a challenge,” Flanagan continues. “It is a personal challenge for me to make sure I'm at my best, to make sure I can offer as much as I possibly can to help others achieve their goals.
“I haven't lost the grá for it, I still love going training, I still love the buzz of matchday, especially when it gets to this time of the year.
“As long as that continues hopefully I will be able to assist as much as I possibly can for others to achieve their goals.”
During the past two and a half decades that is precisely what Flanagan has sought to do. Having flared to prominence with his home club Clara, further glory was attained when guiding Tyrrellspass to Westmeath glory.
Inter-county positions followed with Westmeath, Sligo, and Offaly, but being involved with an emerging Pearses outfit in recent campaigns has been an enjoyable experience.
“They are a very good group of young men to be totally honest, they are very, very committed,” Flanagan says.
“You have a good cohort on the county team. All during the lockdown they were working on their own, they came back in pretty good shape. It is all about the mentality at this stage, it is about making sure guys are mentally focused and mentally right.
“Big questions have been asked of every club in the country over the past number of months, not alone Padraig Pearses, but we have adapted very well and are fairly focused for Sunday.”
Returning to the Roscommon showpiece ensures Pearses remain relevant which matters deeply. “It is great under the present circumstances that we are back in a final again this year,” Flanagan states.
“Last year we were lucky enough to get across the line. It is a big plus to be back for a second time, it isn't the easiest thing in the world to get back to a second county final. Thankfully we did enough in all of our games to the present to get there.”
Flanagan acknowledges that Pearses’ consistency is a source of encouragement, but 2020 has provided an alternative set of questions.
“You have different challenges, last year the challenge was probably to help to get Padraig Pearses across the line for the first time ever,” Flanagan replies. “It is always a very difficult task, it was great to be part of that.
“This year is a completely different challenge, you are trying to hold on to something you never had before.
“That obviously brings different mentalities and poses different questions for people. Obviously to try to manage that, to try to help fellas overcome different types of fears makes it different.”