Terry Hyland wants to maximise Leitrim's potential
By Cian O'Connell
Delighted to have returned to the inter-county arena, Terry Hyland’s brief is to ensure Leitrim maximise their resources.
That is precisely what Hyland wants to achieve and the former Cavan manager is relishing the opportunity to take charge of Leitrim.
The past month has been busy for Hyland, who is hopeful about making an impact with a youthful Leitrim panel. “It is nice to be planning with somebody different and with somebody you don't know about,” Hyland admits.
“Being involved with Cavan I probably knew everything about them from nearly the day they were born, especially from when they started running on a football field.
“With Leitrim it is totally new and totally different so there is a little bit more research work that needs to be done. There is learning that needs to be done on my behalf.”
So Hyland has watched several Leitrim Championship matches in recent weeks eager to see footballers emerge in the county. “We have been at a few matches, they are currently at the qualifier stages so a lot of the games at this stage in Leitrim teams have already gone through,” Hyland says.
“I'm not saying they are dead rubber games, I was at a good game last week Ballinamore and Aughawillan. It is really from the quarter final stage on when you need to see a bit of a bite in it.”
Having enjoyed encouraging underage success with Cavan, Hyland subsequently steered his native county from Division Three to Division One in the Allianz Football League.
Returning to the inter-county game following a couple of years break ensures he is ready to embrace the Leitrim challenge. ‘There is a bit of a buzz about it and to be fair there is a bit of a buzz in Leitrim about it,” Hyland states.
“Hopefully we can live up to their expectations. It is always good to be involved in the top in any sport. When you get involved in senior inter-county you are getting involved with the top players in that county. It is good from that point of view.”
Championship victories over New York and Louth meant it was a relatively successful summer for Leitrim. “It is true, but the problem with counties like Leitrim, even Cavan would have a bit of it at the moment, is holding on to guys, making sure that they stay there and that they want to be there,” Hyland remarks.
“Perhaps Leitrim is always blooding in young fellas and they need them to settle in, decide that they can make a career and a success out of this. That is what we will be trying to propose to them going forward.”
Establishing a culture and providing a top class set-up is critical according to Hyland. “That is it, but at the end of the day the set-up is themselves,” Hyland comments.
“There can be a myth created around managers or trainers. Of course what you give them must be good, it must be professional, and that it will improve them, but at the end of the day the one person that is going to improve them - that is themselves.
“There is only group that is going to improve them which is themselves as a group. Irrespective of who is the manager or who is the trainer they have to buy into this Leitrim.
“That is who they are representing, they are representing themselves, their families and their clubs, and you have to bring them things into it. When you do that and you give them the back-up they will improve on the back of that.”
Now Hyland wants to make Leitrim a competitive team in Division Four and in the Connacht Championship. “You are right, the word is to maximise what they have,” Hyland responds. “To be the best they can be and to do that they have to prepare properly. That responsibility falls upon me as a manager and my team to ensure that they are prepared properly.
“I think irrespective of whether you are a small county, big county, small group, big group - it is how you prepare and where you want to be at the end of that. I think if we get them prepared properly and they get the right mindset, I think Leitrim can have a bright future.”