Managers view….Johnny Campbell – Loughgiel
By Brendan McTaggart
Easily the happiest man in Paírc MacUílin. Loughgiel manager Johnny Campbell stood before us like a man who had just witnessed hours and days of preparation pay off. The Shamrocks manager gave us his initial thoughts before acknowledging his side were ready to bring their ‘A’ game when it was needed the most: “Credit to Dunloy, we knew coming here today we had to bring our best and I felt the lads were pretty close to that to be honest. The way we set up, the organisation and sheer heart won them the game in fairness.”
It was an hour of pure grit and savage determination from the Shamrocks and Campbell sang his sides praises before calling for calm heads ahead of the final: “I couldn’t fault any one of them out there today and I know its easy saying that after winning a semi-final. There was mistakes and there’s always going to be mistakes but for pure effort and heart I couldn’t fault them.
“It would be interesting to see the stats for turnovers and that type of thing but at the end of the day and I can’t stress this enough, it’s just a semi-final.”
James McNaughton proved to be Loughgiel’s match winner on the day. Eight pointed frees from nine efforts, majority of all from distance while dealing with swirling wind, it was a phenomenal free taking display from the Loughgiel man and Campbell said it’s the hard work paying off for the Shamrocks sharp shooter: “That’s why you practice them so that you can nail them when it matters. It was a superb display, the same as Johnston last night in Dunloy.”
The Shamrocks played a tactically perfect hour and more of hurling and the Loughgiel manager told us they had their homework done: “It’s easy saying this after we won but for raw talent, they have close to the best forward unit in the county. We looked at them, seen how they won last year and seen the strengths they have and threats just like they know ours. We knew we had to be at the top of our game to get anything out of today to negate them things. They have quality everywhere and bringing quality on.”
With the final now postponed to allow for the Cushendall and St Johns replay next weekend, the Loughgiel manager told us they will use the week to recover and will have a keen eye on the replay on Sunday week: “There’s a lot of sore bodies in there and it will do us no harm. We’ll regroup again, mind the bodies and the injuries and niggles will hopefully have cleared up but you saw that match last night. Whoever comes through that is going to be a tough game in the final. We’ll go to the replay and enjoy it and see what we can learn from that.”