Pádraig Pearses' golden generation ready to shine
By John Harrington
By any metric, Padraig Pearses rise to prominence in recent times has been pretty swift.
In 2019 they won their first ever Roscommon senior football championship in the club’s history.
Last year they won their second and followed it up with the club’s first ever Connacht Senior Football Championship.
Where has this golden generation of footballers suddenly come from?
“It’s hard to put your finger on one thing really, there’s a good crop there at the moment, there’s a few lads with decent inter-county experience, and there are a lot of lads who would have played for Roscommon at underage at some stage,” says Pádraig Pearses joint-captain, David Murray.
“Then there are a few young lads who joined the panel from minor level, and it’s probably just coming together with a good group like that. There’s a good management team in place, it’s all the small things really that counts to get over the line.”
That management team is headed up by former Westmeath and Sligo manager, Pat Flanagan, who has clearly struck up a great relationship with the players since taking charge in 2018.
“Pat’s with us now for the past couple of years, and he’s had a really good positive impact on our game,” says Murray.
“He’s put in a good management team in place as well and all of those guys put in a savage amount of work. That kind of translates through performances, the lads are performing well and all of this background work really helps us.”
Flanagan would surely say his job is made a lot easier when he’s working with players of the quality he has at his disposal with Pádraig Pearses.
The likes of Murray, Niall, Conor, and Ronan Daly, Hubert Darcy, and Mark Richardson have all played senior inter-county football with Roscommon.
There’s also a cohort of talented young players in the club headed up by the precocious Paul Carey who scored eight points in the Connacht Final victory over Knockmore and looks destined for big things.
“Paul is very good,” says Murray. “A lot of people kind of focus on the scores and stuff he’s got, but he works really hard off the ball as well, he’s good to win his own ball, so he has a lot of attributes that can make him really progress as a footballer, and he has a good attitude towards working, and towards training, which is very important.”
Pádraig Pearses might have much less tradition of competing at this level of the game than their AIB All-Ireland SFC semi-final opponents, Kilmacud Crokes, but they will be in no way overawed by the Dublin and Leinster champions.
They’ve studied them in detail in preparation for this match, and believe there are chinks in their armour they can exploit on Saturday.
“There’s probably bits and pieces that you can take from their previous games, like what made it work for teams for certain spells, what put them under pressure, and then try and apply it to our game," says Murray.
“But we don't want to read into them too much, we just want to focus on our own performance, if we can get bits and pieces then that’s great, but we just want to play as good as we can on the day.”