By Brendan McTaggart
Burke tells of relief at full time whistle
Cushendall Captain Martin Burke was obviously delighted but after having to be taken off during the second half after a reoccurrence of a niggling injury on Sunday afternoon, the Ruairi’s full back told us that the six minutes of added time seem to last for an eternity: “The nerves weren’t good. It’s grand when you’re on the field but at that stage my foot had went again so I was on the side line. There was massive relief when we heard the whistle on the bench.”
After coming through a battle, Burke told us that his side have had their eyes on this match since the draw was made and the match transpired to be exactly the type of warfare they had expected: “Yeah it was great to get over the line. We have had our eye on this game all year to come out on the right side of a game like that means everything to us.
“It was battle out there but we were expecting that. The softer pitches at championship time often turn it into that sort of game. But when you come out on the right side of a battle like that it’s nearly more satisfying.”
Despite trailing by two points at the interval, Burke told us the Ruairi’s were delighted with their first half performance but wary that they had only half the job done: “We were happy with our first half performance and the work we were putting in and it gave us a great platform to kick on in the second half but as the saying goes and as has been proved before when these sides meet the wind never wins any game.”
A meeting with the Cuchullains lay ahead now for Burke and his side and the Cushendall full back told us that they are keen to right the wrongs they endured from 12 months ago: “After last year’s final, we felt we underperformed. It has been our aim to get back to a count final this year but we are under illusions as to the task that awaits.”
Casey: “Better team won on the day.”
Loughgiel Captain Shay Casey was clearly disappointed as he led his team off the Páirc Mac Uílin field. No-one wants to be captaining their side to a loss against their rivals and Casey was hurting but he still had time to speak to us before going to the changing rooms.
Before we could even get into the finer details of the match, the Loughgiel full forward offered his congratulations to the Ruairi’s, a sign of the huge respect between the sides despite the rivalry that exists: “Congratulations to Cushendall. They were the better team on the day. There was only ever going to be a poc of the ball between the teams, especially with the conditions.
“It was a good sporting game played out in bad conditions but we can have no complaints. We had plenty of opportunities but it’s swings and roundabouts. Hopefully it will be us that will come out on top next year.
“We’re severely disappointed as we’ve put a hell of a lot of effort in. It’s not an easy result to take.”
Despite playing with the elements in the first half, the Loughgiel Captain told us that they were satisfied with their work in the opening half: “We were confident at half time that we could see the job through but it wasn’t to be.”
Casey told us that the Ruairi’s playing with Eoghan Campbell as sweeper had a major bearing on the game but they were aware before the match of what they would come up against: “Cushendall played with a man back, that’s their tactic that they use to nullify our forwards and we worked with it alright. We were happy enough being two up at half time. These things go for you and some don’t, the better team won on the day and that’s it plain and simple.
“But as I’ve said, we can have no complaints. Fair play to Cushendall, they were the better side on the day and deserved to win.”