Winners pay warm tribute to Conor
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.