GER Fitzgerald could join a select band tomorrow afternoon, but the Midleton manager is more focused on the present rather than looking at history.
Having claimed four county SHC medals as a player – including as captain in 1991, against Glen Rovers – Fitzgerald could add a title as a manager to his collection if they overcome the Glen at Páirc Uí Chaoimh (3pm).
However, it’s not something he’s overly concerned with.
“That’s not an issue really for consideration,” he says, “we’re here to see how we can get on.
“It’s all about this game on Sunday. It’s the focus of the team and the management, it’s the focus of everybody.
“It’s a big opportunity for us – obviously, it’s a big opportunity for the Glen, too – but we’re in the final and you have to take it on its merits. We see ourselves as having an even chance and you have to look forward to it.”
The Magpies have beaten Carrigtwohill, Na Piarsaigh, Erin’s Own and reigning champions Blackrock to come this far, with the only blemish a group-stage defeat to Sarsfields when both sides were assured of qualification for the knockout stages. Trying to strike a balance between focusing on themselves and stopping the opposition is the key.
“You have to be aware of the opposition’s strengths,” Fitzgerald says, “I think we were aware of them against Erin’s Own, we thought we were against Sars but that wasn’t really reflected in the way we played!
“Against the Glen, we’ll have to be aware of their strengths and we are but I’m sure they’ll be aware of ours, too.
“If we can get ourselves right, that’s the biggest thing really, facing into the match.
“If we can get the heads right, the bodies right, the lead-up and the preparations right, then we have a great chance.”
Opposing Midleton are a Glen side seeking to avoid defeat in the decider for the third year in a row, but their Cork star Robert Downey doesn’t believe that that possibility is a cause for extra pressure.
“You can’t be dwelling on the past – those games are over and Imokilly and Blackrock were deserving champions on those days. We just look forward, we’ll be doing our best on Sunday to win and hopefully it’s enough.”
After edging out Newtownshandrum to guarantee qualification, the Glen have beaten Imokilly and Sarsfields in close games.
“Things just picked up from there then after we got out of the group,” Downey says.
“Training picked up and we knew that there was a performance in us for the Imokilly match. Thankfully we got one and things just rolled on from there.
“Obviously, Patrick [Horgan] was sent off and it was 14 versus 15 for a lot of that match and that galvanises a team. It brings everyone on and it was a great win.
“We beat Imokilly without Hoggy but we needed him against Sars! He was outstanding again. They were two tough matches and hopefully they stand to us for Sunday.”