By Brendan McTaggart
Rossa manager Colly Murphy kept his charges in a huddle for a little longer than usual on Sunday afternoon. His side had just tasted defeat in their first county final since 2004 and it was a bitter pill to try and swallow.
His side were swept aside by a brilliant Dunloy performance and the Rossa manager praised the champions: “Everybody says you have to lose one to win one. I don’t really buy into that but we’ll take it today.
“No complaints, they were at it from the start and on their game. We weren’t.
“The best team won and that’s why they’re champions. They’ll be very difficult to knock off their perch in the next few years.”
Rossa started the final well and matched the Cuchullains in the opening quarter. A number of wides hurt their challenge and as Dunloy grew into the game, the Rossa challenge faltered: “Our shooting wasn’t the best today,” said Murphy: “sometimes that happens. They got three goals today and I know when I get to look back on them, they all could have been avoided.
“That’s Dunloy for you though. They have that killer instinct and they went for it, fair play to them.”
In a year that saw Rossa win their three group games and reach the league and championship finals, they’ve built on last years performances and now have a solid foundation to maintain a challenge. Murphy agreed when he added: “We’re looking at it as progress. Everybody’s hurting and you know, there’s no words of comfort from me that can ease their pain but it’s a year we progressed one step further.
“We’ll take that and we’ll look at it over the winter and see where we go from here.”
It was a tough hour for Colly Murphy’s men who came up against a Dunloy side who were in no mood for fairy tales. Murphy admitted his side didn’t do themselves justice on the day but they would use it as a learning curve: “
Nobody goes out to play bad. Everybody went out to play as best they can. Some people underperformed, through no fault of their own. They were prepared mentally, physically, everything. As I say, some people had a bad day at the office. Deaglan (Murphy) and Stephen (Beatty) were maybe up to scratch but you can’t have two or three out of 15 but no one tries to go out and play bad.
“We’ll try and see who’s there next year. I feel sorry for these boy’s but when you lose, it makes winning more sweet. Today we’ll take today on the chin and I’ve told the boys to go out and in a funny way, celebrate because they did progress and they worked hard. Every other team in the county would have wished to be in our position today. Playing in a match on the 10th October, in this weather, in this ground and live on TG4.
“We’ll look at the positives, regroup and go from there.”