‘We have kept our heads down all year’

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - DANIEL GOR­MAN Sports Re­porter

DEAN HEALY wants an­other cham­pi­onship medal in his pocket and an­other pic­ture on his mum’s man­tel­piece.

Healy won gold in his first ever fi­nal and marked the oc­ca­sion with a pic­ture of him­self and sis­ter Aimi – her­self hold­ing an U-14 tro­phy at the time – with their mum sand­wiched in-be­tween and Dean reck­ons it’s about time that there’s an up­grade in light of Aimi win­ning the in­ter­me­di­ate cham­pi­onship as cap­tain re­cently.

Since that glo­ri­ous day though, Healy ex­pe­ri­enced the heart­break of three de­feats in a row on county fi­nal day but the cap­tain reck­ons the team-mates that will sur­round him on Sun­day eclipse ev­ery other team he has played in.

‘I think the cur­rent panel of Pat’s play­ers there - from the last eight or nine years I’m in­volved - I think the qual­ity con­tained in this team is def­i­nitely the best. We prob­a­bly don’t have stand-out names like we did pre­vi­ously but all year the lads have been fo­cus­ing on the in­di­vid­ual games that we’ve been play­ing and we’ve got­ten over ev­ery task that we’ve faced so far. This is a county fi­nal but one thing Casey has been stress­ing all along is that it’s just an­other game to get our over­all goal that we set our­selves at the start of the year.

‘We sat down at the start of the year and set our­selves a num­ber of goals. To date, we’ve achieved ev­ery­thing that we set our­selves with the ex­cep­tion of win­ning the league. County fi­nals are big days and I’ve played in a num­ber of them but the young lads that have been in­tro­duced this year; there’s a cer­tain raw­ness that comes with young lads. I re­mem­ber be­ing 18 back in 2012 and I don’t think you take much of the oc­ca­sion in be­cause you just see it as a game more so than lads that have been around the block’.

Healy could be con­sid­ered a veteran at this stage in terms of his ex­pe­ri­ence and he as ex­pe­ri­enced many jousts with Sun­day’s op­po­nents.

‘We are play­ing Rathnew and they’ll know us bet­ter than a lot of teams would and we’ll know them bet­ter too just be­cause of prior en­gage­ments. Rathnew beat us in a fi­nal two/three years ago but the panel we have at the mo­ment; not a lot of them would have ex­pe­ri­enced that. It will be a big oc­ca­sion but I’m ex­tremely con­fi­dent that if we stick to what we’ve been do­ing, we’ll hope­fully come out the right side of it.

‘Rathnew will have just as much con­fi­dence as we have. At the start of the year and through­out the course of the cham­pi­onship Rathnew have been the ones tipped to win it so the pres­sure is on them. We’ve kept our heads down all year and got on with it and we’ll hope­fully come out the right side of it on Sun­day’.

Aimi has al­ready showed Dean the way by cap­tain­ing her side to glory. It’s now over to Dean to match his sis­ter’s hero­ics.

‘Me and Aimi are very close and it was great to see Pat’s come out the right side of it. I hope Aimi is com­ing in over the fence with her tro­phy to join Mi­ley for a fam­ily photo! I’m hop­ing to have an up­dated pic­ture for the mantle­piece’.

Dean Healy in ac­tion against Ciaran Kilkenny of Dublin in this year’s Le­in­ster Cham­pi­onship clash at Port­laoise. Healy will lead Pat’s out in the county fi­nal against neigh­bours Rathnew on Sun­day.

Dean Healy bat­tles with Rathnew’s Jody Mer­ri­gan in the county fi­nal of 2015.

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