By Kevin Herron
St Galls ace Kieran McGourty insists that it was nice to get over the line and clinch a second Ulster Intermediate Hurling title after yesterday’s 2-12-0-11 victory over Keady, Lamh Dhearg.
Yesterday’s win at Pairc Esler increased McGourty’s ever growing medal haul with the Milltown men. The former dual county star believes that yesterday’s win was the first time throughout the course of the campaign that they stood up to the test and hopes it will stand up in good stead going into the All-Ireland series.
“It’s nice to get over the line again” reflected McGourty.
“It’s like anything – you enter any competition and it’s not easily won. We’ve been made to work hard and as you go up the levels and up the games it gets harder and harder. It’s probably the first time we’ve stood up to the test and we were convincing today in the end. It was nice and hopefully it will stand us in good stead going forward”.
With the game finely in the balance approaching the interval it was a goal from younger brother CJ that would prove the difference and despite Jackson McGreevy departing with a second yellow-card early in the second-half; Sean McAreavey rifled home a second to secure a second Intermediate success at Ulster level and a first since 2009.
McGourty believes that CJ’s goal came at a ‘lucky’ time and was glad his side got the lucky breaks in the game.
“CJ got the goal at a lucky time” McGourty insisted.
“Sometimes when a man gets sent-off – as you see in every sport really, you rally round and put that wee bit more extra hard work in. It paid off but on another day it could have went against us – we’ll take any break going because you need them to win big matches and finals”.
Reflecting back upon their campaign to date – McGourty admits they’ve been pushed the whole way and felt they showed what they were about against Keady.
“It’s not easy to win any competition” believes McGourty.
“Looking back on Antrim – Gort Na Mona gave us a hell of a run for a long, long period. It took us a long time to pull away against St Enda’s and against Creggan in the final; I would argue they were probably the better team on the day and we just got a few lucky breaks”.
“All matches are going to be tight at that level and we got our lucky breaks – in saying that today we kicked on ourselves and showed more of what we were about. Maybe the games will stand us in good stead and our reaction today in going down to 14-men will stand us in good stead”.
The Galls will have a short break before switching their attention to the all-Ireland series and a clash with the Connaught champions in January.
In 2010 the Milltown club were defeated in the Intermediate decider by Kilkenny side St. Lachtain’s at Croke Park before tasting senior Football success at the same venue the following month.
McGourty joked he may need a longer break than the rest – but feels that preparations will start for the semi-final within the next week or two.
“I asked Micky Culbert for a break because I’m slightly older than most of them” McGourty joked.
“I’d say we’ll take a wee break – but unlike winning the senior championship, the All-Ireland semi-finals are played off in mid February and you can take a wee bit longer for a break. I think we’re back out in the third week of January for the semi-final so we’ll have to be back out in the next week or two anyway”.