Win­ners pay warm trib­ute to Conor

Drogheda Independent - - SPORT - JOHN SAV­AGE

THERE was fur­ther proof that the GAA tran­scends club bound­aries when Cian O Naraigh paid a warm trib­ute to the late Conor Mor­gan on Sun­day.

A Dun­dalk Gaels team man­aged by Conor’s dad Paul, came up ag­o­nis­ingly short against St Mary’s in the Ju­nior 2A Cham­pi­onship fi­nal cur­tain-raiser, but O Naraigh in­sisted that winning and los­ing foot­ball matches means very lit­tle in the greater scheme of things, and later some of O Naraigh’s Young Ire­lands col­leagues also paid trib­ute to Mor­gan on so­cial me­dia.

Re­flect­ing on the game it­self, O Naraigh was equally mag­nan­i­mous, in­sist­ing that Glyde Rangers would have been equally de­serv­ing vic­tors.

‘I feel for Glyde, if they had won that game it would have been just as de­served,’ he said be­fore the pre­sen­ta­tion of the tro­phy and man-of-the-match award, which he too ac­cepted. ‘They worked just as hard and they would have been wor­thy cham­pi­ons too.

‘But this is what cham­pi­onship foot­ball is about. In the first-half we felt like it could have went away from us, but the only score that mat­ters is the one up there at the end and thank­fully we were on the right side of that one.’

THE com­mon con­sen­sus go­ing into this sea­son was that Young Ire­lands were ‘too good’ for Ju­nior foot­ball, but O Naraigh in­sisted you still have to prove it.

‘As a club we would al­ways feel that in foot­ball you get what you de­serve and we cer­tainly got what we de­served in league and cham­pi­onship last sea­son. We went about putting that right this year and get­ting what we de­served the other way around, with de­ter­mi­na­tion and com­mit­ment to how we wanted to play foot­ball. Had the re­sult not gone our way we still would have felt we gained that from the sea­son and we’re just de­lighted for ev­ery­one.

‘You think about these type of days, but when it hap­pens it’s not like any­thing you ever imag­ined. Friends, Fam­ily, ev­ery­one who works hard at this club, the play­ers them­selves, we’re just de­lighted to win it for them.’

He ad­mit­ted that it wasn’t the per­for­mance they wanted or are ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing, but he hailed the grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion they showed to get the job done.

‘The first-half we felt like we weren’t get­ting into the gear we needed to be get­ting into and even in the sec­ond-half we weren’t re­ally do­ing the things we’d pride our­selves on like hav­ing dis­ci­pline in the tackle. That’s just the pres­sure of these games, but in the end we came out with the right re­sult and that was be­cause we had lead­ers all over the pitch.

‘Lead­ers aren’t just la­bels, they’re mo­ments and there were lead­ers all over the park to­day, with passes, pick­ing up ball and that score Der­mot Mone got be­fore half-time was mas­sive. It’s mo­ments like that that kept us go­ing.’

And they have to keep it all lit for an­other while yet as they pre­pare for a Le­in­ster cam­paign at the end of the month. And with the pres­sure off they’ll give it a good rat­tle.

None of us felt like tak­ing Tues­days and Thurs­day off just yet, but maybe we’ll take this Tues­day off and get back to it and give Le­in­ster a go,’ he added.

Conor Neary ac­cepts the cup from Ea­mon Doyle and Kevin Gor­don.

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