I really hate losing. I think every sportsman feels the same
“When I went to my first session with Erin's Isle, I felt a bit of nostalgia. I hadn't coached a team in 15 years, but it was good, like I've still got it!
Some of these guys were not even born when I took my last kick in football, but even initially I got a very good reception. I’m not here to lose. I have to admit I really hate losing. Even when I play cards for nothing, I just want to win. I think that’s part of my personality and I think every sportsman feels the same.
You never stop being a manager. When you watch a football match, you watch it as a manager, rather than as a fan, always analysing and examining. I keep myself updated with everything that goes on in the field. I have worked for Sky Italia for the last 15 years, as a studio analyst on Champions League, the Premiership and Serie A. I live in London but commute to their headquarters in Milan for it and it is the dream job for me. But I might run a football club in the future, that’s what I want to do, so I might not be the manager, I might be the guy in charge.
There’s a slight difference, but it’s the same at the end of the day because it’s about managing people, making them feel good about themselves, about delegating, establishing confidence and trust between yourself and people working for you. That’s where I felt I might be able to make a difference with the guys in Erin's Isle.
I don’t want to pretend that I know the game well enough to say, ‘you do this, you do that!' but I can try to work more on their minds. I wouldn’t have done anything any differently had I taken over a football (soccer) team. I didn’t want to impress them, just be myself and establish a connection.
Gaelic football is just a different world. I’m not saying this is better, or my industry is better. It’s great that we have both. I wanted to tell them how much I admire that they do it for the passion and the love of the game. I want to take my hat off to them.
I had seen some footage of the match from 1998 and I spoke to Niall (Crossan) who scored the winning goal for us and was told all about it. I am sure Castlehaven have something that they are keen on settling, something that has been there for 20 years, so for them it’s a great opportunity to get own back.
I believe they are a very strong side, quite physical and probably more experienced than we are. We’ve got a lot of respect for them but, at the same time, we feel that we’re good as well.
I was delighted to beat St Margaret's in our challenge match because it’s always important to set off on the right foot. Winning is a habit. So is losing. That was a good start, but the main thing is to beat Castlehaven