Glen manager Malachy O’Rourke will be hoping to steer the club to a first ever All Ireland title when they take on Kilmacud Crokes in Croke Park this Sunday.

Fermanagh native and former Erne boss O’Rourke has again proven to be the man with the midas touch since taking the reins at the Maghera club, leading them to a first Derry senior title last year before securing their maiden Ulster senior crown last month with victory over last year’s All Ireland champions Kilcoo.

And now the target is to land the All Ireland title for O’Rourke and Glen.

“It is not every day that your club gets to play in Croke Park and play in an All Ireland final so there is massive excitement around the club but it is just a case of trying to keep the boys in the same routine as normal and just focus on the game.

“Everybody is training and everybody is fit. You always have the odd wee niggle here and there but we expect a full panel to choose from. All the boys are working away and it is more in the community that there is all the excitement,” he said.

And he knows what playing in an All Ireland final means to a football mad area.

“It would mean an awful lot. It is a very strong footballing area and they were deprived of success at senior level anyway for so many years and it is only the last couple of years that they have won a senior championship, it has happened so quick and there is a serious buzz about the town.

“I was chatting somebody yesterday and he was telling me that he is delighted at the minute to be sent down to the shop for a pint of milk or whatever at night because it gives him the chance to chat to people about football where normally it would be a chore to go to the shop.

“No, everybody is on a high and it is what everybody is talking about. It is a great occasion for the club.”

However, he knows the size of the task ahead as they look to take down last year’s beaten All Ireland finalists, Kilmacud.

“Last year Kilmacud were probably unlucky not to beat Kilcoo in the final, they played some great football but got caught at the end. They have added Shane Walsh to the panel this year and they played last year without Paul Mannion and there is talk that he could be back so we know it is a massive task that we face but we’re delighted to be there and we hope to get a performance worthy of the occasion and if you do get that then you are definitely in with a shout,” said O’Rourke.

Kilmacud do have that experience of playing in the final though while Croke Park is a familiar ground for them having played there regularly in recent times. And O’Rourke knows the hurt of last year will also be driving them on.

“That experience of the final last year is a factor and a wee bit like the Dublin county team I think they have maybe played something like seven of their last ten games in Croke Park so all those wee things have to give them that wee bit of an advantage.

“Also the hurt of last year, to lose it in those circumstances, which was very painful, is a factor. It is a long way to get back to here but they have navigated that fairly comfortably and they are looking to right the wrong of last year.”

Glen won their semi-final against Moycullen in Croke Park and it should mean that there will be no surprises in terms of the venue for the Derry champions on Sunday.

“A number of the lads would have played there; you have the lads with the county and a number have played there in Hogan Cup finals but it is still a completely different venue to be playing games in with the actual size of it, so it was a big help to play the semi-final there and it just makes you that wee bit more comfortable with the surroundings,” he said.

O’Rourke though acknowledges that Glen will have to improve from that semi-final performance in a number of areas if they are to come out on top against the Dublin champions.

“We felt we played well at times but we made an awful lot of mistakes; the amount of frees we conceded and we gave the ball away too many times and as well as that we let them back into it. We were comfortable but then let them back into it at different stages so there is an awful lot we need to improve on.

“And it is that straightforward, if we don’t improve we will find it very hard to win it so we know that we have to put in a massive shift if we are going to have a chance of winning it.”

So, what does O’Rourke think will be the key on Sunday?

“It is going back to the last game, you have to be very economical when you have possession. Kilmacud are very good, they play to a system and they get a lot of bodies back in defence and if you cough up possession to them they are very fast and athletic and have good scoring forwards. They will punish you every time you give the ball away so it a case of being very economical on the ball and then at the same time making sure that we are nice and sound defensively.

“And again, like every game the kick outs are going to have a big factor on it.

“There are a number of things you have to get right if you want to win the game,” he concluded.