Football

John Meyler Details What He's Learnt From Getting Up Close With Soccer Managers

John Meyler Details What He's Learnt From Getting Up Close With Soccer Managers

Just thinking about it causes the pride to well up in John Meyler. It's etched across his face - the pride of a father for the achievement of a son marked with a telling smile - as he remembers that famous night in Cardiff back in October when Ireland beat Wales.

"I would never have seen it. For them to make him captain in such an important game. I know he had worked with Martin and Roy in Sunderland, but it was immense," said the Cork manager at the launch of the Allianz Hurling League on Monday.

"I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it. The atmosphere in Cardiff that night, the Welsh national anthem, you’d never forget it, it was incredible."

The disappointment which followed with the harrowing loss to Denmark in Dublin is something Meyler says his son David has not let go easily.

"That wasn’t over in five minutes. Ireland is more passionate, more romantic... It was an incredible journey, but the way it ended was hard to take.

"I don’t mind David, but for John O’Shea and Glenn Whelan and the older fellas that probably won’t stay on it was hard and they deserve something but that's life.

Meyler recalls his son playing in a Primary Game at Semple back in 2002. He was marking Waterford All-Star corner-back Noel Connors. David was also handy with a soccer ball at the time and his father had notions of him maybe giving it a go in England. Though, seeing his son captain Ireland was something he had not envisioned.

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He was good at the soccer and that. And you know, 'I'd love him to go to England and play a bit of soccer and see how it goes.' Then he went. Then you'd say, you'd love him to play for Ireland.

Seamus was always captain. He was unfortunate to break his leg. Somebody else, I think John [O'Shea] was missing. For David to go out against Moldova and Wales as captain, and to win both matches, and to qualify for the Denmark game - that was fantastic.

Ireland not qualifying for Russia does have one upside in his view: he doesn't have to choose between Munster Championship games and the World Cup.

"You look at the bigger picture now we're not going to Russia. Travelling around Russia mightn't work as well. We’d miss the Munster championship matches. Vladivostok or Páirc Ui Chaoimh?"

john meyler son david meyler

The two are close. They talk on the phone twice a day.

"What's happening on Saturday night, they're playing Nottingham Forest in the fourth round of the FA Cup and we're playing Kilkenny. You can imagine the phone call now."

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Visits to England for games are a regular occurrence. It's somewhere he says he should have been on Monday for his granddaughter's second birthday rather than at Croke Park fielding questions from the media.

While in England, chances to take in training sessions at both Sunderland and Hull are opportunities which he has grasped. Steve Bruce, Leonid Slutsky and Mike Phelan are all managers he has observed and from whom he had picked up the odd tidbit.

I'd go to all of Bruce's sessions, yeah. I used to love going down to Sunderland when he was there, and going down to Hull when Bruce was manager. Slutsky, Mike Phelan - his father was from Kilkenny, actually. I would’ve looked at all of their coaching sessions to have seen what they were at.

I watch Cork City training because they’re in the college [CIT] at times on the 4G pitch at the moment. Just to see what they're at, what they're doing, what they're not doing. A lot of it is about coaching as distinct from training.

If there's one aspect of professional sport from which Meyler has learned it's the ability the immediately move on - to not dwell on a success or defeat.

"A lot of it is that once the game is over, you move on, you see what’s next. Kilkenny is critical now, this Saturday. The following Saturday, it’s away to Wexford. What you learn from that is that the minute the match is over at five o'clock, it's over, forget about it - what's next?

"You go back to last year, we beat Tipperary in Thurles in the quarter-final, and then four weeks time we’ve Waterford. You spend the first two weeks talking, Jesus wasn’t it great to beat Tipp or whatever. Now you don’t have that. You’ll forget about the match. That’s the difference in professional sport, it’s over, move on, forget about it.

2018 marks the 26th season that Allianz has sponsored the Allianz Hurling Leagues, making it one of the longest sponsorships in Irish sport. Allianz and the GAA announced on Monday the renewal of Allianz's partnership with GAAGO which will make over 50 live Allianz League matches available to global audiences. In attendance at the Allianz Hurling League 2018 launch at Croke Park in Dublin, from left, Waterford manager Derek McGrath, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail, Galway goalkeeper Colm Callanan, Sean McGrath, CEO, Allianz Ireland and Cork manager John Meyler. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

See Also: Rescheduled O'Byrne Cup Final Makes Absolutely No Sense For Fans

PJ Browne
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