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'I never spent as much time in a store room in my life' - working in the family shop on All-Ireland final week

Gearoid McInerney kept some distance from the mayhem in McInerney Sports Shop before they faced Waterford.

A FEW WEEKS ago, Gearoid McInerney revealed he used a picture of the Liam MacCarthy Cup as a screensaver on his phone to keep him motivated during the 2017 campaign.

Gearoid McInerney celebrates Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The 28-year-old has become well-acquainted with the real thing since Galway lifted the trophy on the steps of the Hogan Stand in September.

McInerney enjoyed his finest year in the maroon with a series of dominant displays from centre-back during the summer, and he believes setting personal goals helped him maintain his performance levels throughout the year.

He believes time of year is about unwinding, before he starts putting together his aims for next season.

For All-Ireland winners, the off-season is typically filled with trips around the world and the Tribesmen were no different. Boston and Chicago were visited already this month, with a team holiday to New York and Cancun on the agenda in December.

“I’ll have to sit down and reassess that,” he says. ”At the minute it’s about enjoying it and putting the feet up even though it might feel wrong.

“It’s nice to enjoy the time that we have off because it doesn’t be long coming around again. It has been nice to meet up with friends and to even go out.

“It’s about just relaxing and enjoying this and then getting back to work in the New Year because it’s going to come at us really quick next year so it’s important to be ready for that.

“I’ve been trying to reset and enjoy myself now until next year but I do plan on sitting down and assess how it all went. Everything (from) what I need to do better and what I need to improve on and maybe what I did well.

Coca-Cola Designated Driver  03 Gearoid McInerney, with Santa’s designated drivers as he helps launch Coca-Cola’s 2017 Designated Driver campaign Source: Andres Poveda

“I haven’t really got to that point yet but I do have in mind when I’m going to sit down and assess the year and try to be as honest with myself as possible.

“What do I need to improve on? What did I do well? And go again and just try and top it.

“There’s no roof to what you can do. Even staying the same, you have to put in as much effort, and there’s always room to put in more if you’re smart enough about it. It’s even tricky to get to the level you were before and then to go on and beyond that. You have to keep efficient and keep learning.”

McInerney works in the family’s store, McInerney Sports Shop in Oranmore which was set-up by his father Gerry – the man who helped Galway to an All-Ireland in 1988.

Ken McGrath admitted in his book that working in his sports store the week of Waterford’s All-Ireland final in 2008 was a hectic experience, and he probably burned himself out in the build-up to the biggest game of his life.

But McInerney was wise enough to keep some distance from the mayhem in the family store in the run-in.

“There was great excitement. I’d say I never spent as much time in a store room in my life, just trying to get my head right,” he laughs.

“I normally leave myself a week just to clear my headspace and get all that right.

“Sometimes that involves staying away from all the conversation around it – I know they mean well but sometimes it can be draining enough. So you just try and get away from that a week or two before the game which was grand. I just try to embrace it as well because they don’t come around too often.”

Jonathan Glynn celebrates Source: James Crombie/INPHO

There have been murmurs recently that Johnny Glynn is expected to rejoin the Galway squad permanently from January, but McInerney remained coy on the issue.

“I’m not sure what the whole situation there is. I presume he’s going to sit down with management and discuss it. I thought he was a huge bonus to us last year as a team, even just his physicality alone.

“It adds to us a team. I thought he put in an awful good shift in the All-Ireland final. He wore down his man, he’s very physical and strong, you’d know by when you’re marking him training he really takes it out of you.

“Whether you’re getting on the ball or not, the physical strength of him alone. He’s well able to field a ball, and when he’s not fielding, you’re worried about him fielding it. So I think he’s a great addition to us, hopefully he’ll stay on.

“He’s a very good lad to have around the dressing room, he adds a lot to it. He gets on with everyone, he brings it on another level, which is very hard to do for someone just coming in but he’s well able to do it.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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