The smile on the face of Lamh Dhearg’s team coach Stephen Lynch after the game told the story as he reflected on his side’s win following a titanic struggle and ultimate success gained over the Johnnies, and indeed on the Hannahstown men’s journey to gain the Mac Namee trophy.
‘It has been a long hard road to travel since we last took our place on the podium, said the man responsible for the fitness more than evident within the ranks of the men in red and white, and indeed my heart really goes out to the gallant St John’s. They really are an excellent team and those two encounters between them and Cargin will reside long in the memory’.
‘Another draw did look likely approaching the end but our lads dug deep and many fundamentals required surfaced within our ranks as to a deep desire, hunger combined with a little bit of cuteness and all those hard hours in preparation paid dividends’.
‘We were more than aware of the breeze in favour in the last period and aided by the guile and absolute class of Paddy Cunningham we came through.
Paddy could still be playing for the county and himself and the likes of Decky Lynch, Micko (Michael Herron), and Reg (Brendan Mc Comb) took charge when the going was getting tough and led the boys onward when it would have been easy to throw up the head’.
Lamh Dhearg will now take a step forward on the Provincial trail as they look forward to a meeting with the Breffni representatives (Cavan Gaels) in the opening round but the Lamh Dhearg man admitted he had not given this step a second thought.
‘To be honest I had not given the Ulster Club competition a second thought but we will take a look to see how our lads get over this one and take it from there.
We have been moving forward in Antrim one step at a time and we will hopefully continue in such in Ulster’.
The St John’s manager Paddy Nugent was philosophical in his after match comments reflecting on a heart wrenching defeat he said, ‘Sure that’s football and perhaps you do have to endure the pain of defeat and difficult as it is to endure such heartbreak can have the end reward of learning and with it become stronger in the process.
The lads have given me a savage effort all year and they are young enough and certainly talented enough to become stronger as result but today has been hard’.
‘I can have no complaints as to how the Lamh Dhearg men closed the game out in the latter stages, indeed if you have a one point advantage when the county final enters injury time the objective is to get over that winning line intact.
I offer my complete and unreserved congratulations to Lamh Dhearg and perhaps this experience gained will provide stepping stones for both the teams to step forward.
We will most certainly take the positives out of this and when we consider the bad place in which we were residing last year we are now in a much better shape.