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Tipp Minor Manager Could Have Made It At Spurs If It Wasn't For The Feckin' GAA

Tipp Minor Manager Could Have Made It At Spurs If It Wasn't For The Feckin' GAA
By Sinead Farrell

He's plotting Kerry's demise in the All-Ireland Minor Football final this Sunday. But in his earlier years, Tipperary manager Charlie McGeever could have made it at Tottenham Hotspur back in 1982 when they were FA Cup champions.

He trained with the club for a few months before he was summoned for an U21 game with his native County Donegal. But a cruciate injury during that game brought his season to an end and thus his hopes of pursuing a professional soccer career across the pond were dashed.

The timing could not have been worse for McGeever. The Tottenham Hotspurs panel contained a feast of international talent at that time including 1978 World Cup winners Ossie Ardiles and Rickey Villa from Argentina as well as England legend Glenn Hoddle.

To compound his pain even further, Spurs went on to win the UEFA Cup that year and the Donegal U21 team who McGeever captained at the time, won the All-Ireland final.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner today, McGeever explained:

Ah it was a privilege, it was a great Spurs team. It was nice to see actual World Cup winners in action. I spent the summer there and came back and did the cruciate in a Gaelic match I wasn’t even supposed to play in. That was that. End of story. I was 20 at the time. I played on until I was 33 or 34 with one and a half legs.

But despite the injury woes and the lost opportunity to play a professional sport, McGeever's love for the GAA endured. And this weekend he will lead the Tipperary minors into Croke Park for the Electric Ireland All-Ireland football final.

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Given the large scope of Tipperary players involved in two sports, it's somewhat fitting that McGeever should be the man to navigate them through the choppy waters of dual sport pressures and get them to an All-Ireland final. In addition to the nine players who donned the Tipperary jerseys in the All-Ireland Hurling Finals, scoring ace Alan Tynan could also be looking at a career in Rugby.

And Tynan's form so far has impressed McGeever.

He played a great game against Galway in the quarter-final, was outstanding in the All-Ireland semi-final and played with Leinster schools rugby in England. My understanding is he scored two tries and kicked five out of six, so that went well. He played in the hurling semi-final and final, what a summer. He’s managed it all, played them all and hasn’t been affected by any of it

McGeever, now a Tipperary resident, also managed Finn Harps to an FAI Senior Cup final in 1999.

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