Glen Rovers manager Ian Lynam looking to go one better than 2010

Coach under Richie Kelleher as the Glen reached SHC finals in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2020, Lynam is back as manager a decade after his first stint
Glen Rovers manager Ian Lynam looking to go one better than 2010

Glen Rovers manager Ian Lynam (foreground) during the 2010 Cork SHC final, his first as boss. In the background is selector Richie Kelleher, who later took over as manager before Lynam returned. Picture: Brian Lawless/Sportsfile

THE wheel has come full circle for Glen Rovers manager Ian Lynam.

Having been coach under Richie Kelleher as the club reached five county finals in seven seasons, Lynam took over as manager at the beginning of this year. 

It’s the former goalkeeper’s second stint in charge, having guided the Glen to the 2010 county SHC final, and that achievement has been matched this time round, with the northsiders taking on Midleton in the Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC decider in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday (3.30pm).

“I took over in 2010 and we lost to Na Piarsaigh in the first round by 16 points,” Lynam says.

I was wondering what I’d let myself in for but we made it to the final that year. When we were beaten by Douglas in the first round this year, a lot of people that night reminded me of 2010 and the same thing has happened.

“After the first time, I didn’t think I’d be manager again but the opportunity came up and Tomás asked me if I’d do it. I’m lucky to have a great management team with me.”

Lynam is assisted by selectors Graham Callanan, Gavin Moylan, David ‘Paddy’ Cunningham and Dermot O'Callaghan. It has been a slow-burning campaign as defeat in the group-stage opener to Douglas was followed by wins over Bishopstown and Newtownshandrum before overcoming Imokilly and then Sarsfields in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively.

“We started off really poorly against Douglas,” Lynam says.

“It was a poor performance by us but there were probably mitigating factors. We had had a couple of Covid cases in the run-up to it and couldn’t train properly for the guts of three weeks. 

"We had to cancel a couple of challenge matches, it wasn’t the right preparation going into that match but don’t take anything away from Douglas, they were excellent on the night.

“We just didn’t show up and we were really disappointed with it.”

Still, if there was a game to lose, it was the first one. Since then, the Glen have effectively been on a knockout footing and Lynam feels the team have risen to the challenges facing them.

“We had two games left and we had to win the two of them,” he says.

“Before we played any match, we were hoping that we’d get something out of the first two games, that we wouldn’t be dependent on going to Mourneabbey to play Newtownshandrum, but that wasn’t the way it was.

“After losing the first game, we played Bishopstown and we started really well, we went 0-6 to 0-1 up but had a man sent off and it was backs to the wall again. We managed to grind out a result and won by three or four points in the end.

“Newtown then, a game that went to or fro for most of it and could have gone either way. We were ahead and they had a goal chance at the end, the ball bobbled just as he was pulling on it and we went down and got the winning score.

“Those tight matches brought us on and we went from there to face Imokilly, who over the last four or five years have been the team to beat. Fellas will say that they’re not the team they used to be but their team is full of players who have played for Cork at various levels.”

CHARACTER

The game was a repeat of the 2019 final, which Imokilly won to complete a three-in-a-row. The Glen’s cause wasn’t helped with a first-half red card for Cork captain Patrick Horgan but they managed to grind out a one-point victory.

With Horgan back for the semi against Sars after a successful hearing, he landed 1-11 in a 1-17 to 0-18 win, including the final three points.

“Patrick was sent off after 23 minutes and I suppose the most pleasing thing was we got the next two scores to go in leading by a point and turning to play with a breeze,” Lynam says.

“In the second half, we found ourselves two or three points down again but we kept plugging away and got level and Simon Kennefick got two magnificent points to get us over the line.

“To win a game without him was magnificent, but to do it against a team of the calibre of Imokilly was even more special.

“It set us up then for a semi-final against Sars, another close game. Even at the start of that game, we were down two points and only for a magnificent save by Cathal Hickey we would have been five down.

“We turned around then and got a few scores. We were a point down at half-time, which I was pleased enough with, and I kept saying to the lads that we’d get the chances in the second half and that we’d take them.”

Now, the aim is to do the same against Midleton, who overcame champions Blackrock in their semi.

“They were really impressive, they scored 4-22,” Lynam says, “but we’ve defended well all year. Even in the Douglas game, we defended well, we just didn’t score enough.

“We’re going to give it our best and see where it takes us.”


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