A victory for everyone in tight-knit community
The victorious Donard-The Glen footballers after their mighty victory over Coolkenno in Aughrim on Sunday.
DONARD-THE GLEN manager Mickey Daly paid massive tributes to Alan Daly, Conor Healy and Coolkenno when he managed to gather his thoughts after the eruption following the final whistle in the Darcy Sand Intermediate Football Championship final in Aughrim on Sunday.
‘We’re delighted. It hasn’t sunk in yet. So proud of the boys. It wasn’t the prettiest match ever and we knew that there wouldn’t be much in it. I felt coming into it that it would be a low scoring match. I thought both teams were set up very well defensively. I knew Alan (Daly) wasn’t starting for us, either. We struggled to get a couple of scores, but the heart and the desire, it could have went either way.
‘It was a strange one (the wind). Up to now the wind had been blowing into the other end, the town.
‘This weekend, we looked at the Minor match and the wind had changed direction, but wind doesn’t win you matches, it will often lose them for you alright.
‘We’ve massive, massive time for Coolkenno. I was talking to a few of the lads after it. Just today was our day, we were fortunate. They’re a great bunch of lads.
‘We didn’t know before the match how long Alan would play for. We’ve been trying for two weeks to get him right but all the advice was that he wasn’t going to be right. We were told that he could go in and stand there. It wasn’t working our way at halftime and we sort of said to him, ‘Alan, this is your chance’. He just went in and he was unbelievable. He’s born for these things. He just loves to put on a show. He’s 100 per cent a showman.
‘But in saying that, he’s also the most committed man. He’s always the first at training every night.
‘He’s down there practicing his kicks, doing the gym, doing his diet, there’s no man who’s more committed.
‘He doesn’t just show up and do it. He really works hard,’ he said.
Alan Daly was joined in the captaincy role by Conor Healy who Mickey says was vital in Donard-The Glen’s victory on the day.
‘Absolutely (vital). Surging runs, he stayed back and defended. Conor has a lot of experience; he’s been in the county squad a few years.
‘This is by far his best year with our club. He grew into the captaincy role. When you want a big man on a big day, he certainly stood up,’ he said.
With Alan Daly out of action for the first half, Mickey Daly called on the one and only Brian Lennon to play his part. And no better man to answer that call.
‘He’s been huge. He’s a legend. He was only 18 or 19 in 2000 and he was wing forward that day too. And he scored a goal that day. And he’s never been away. Other lads have been away. I was away in Australia but Brian has been here constantly. He wanted a break this year and I wouldn’t give it to him. He fought against us all year. We begged him and I think he’s happy he came back now,’ laughed Mickey Daly.
The switch of Eoin Kelly on to Eamonn Rossiter was deemed to be a very important one by the Donard-The Glen boss.
‘I thought Eamonn Rossiter was starting to cause us a lot of problems. We had picked Eoin Kelly to kind of pick up ‘Ducky’ (Conor Walker) in there but Rossiter was starting to dictate the game. We sent Alan (Tutty) in and asked Eoin to pick up Rossiter and I think that maybe could have helped us.
‘It could have gone anyway. We were a point up and the next minute we were a point down. I thought the points weren’t easy to come by, how are we going to find a score or two here. They kept at it. It means so much to the whole club. They deserve it, all of them, the lotto sellers, the committee members, this is for them,’ he said.
Danny Branagan, Ashling Murray and Teasie Branagan with a signed Donard-The Glen flag.
Pure delight for Donard-the Glen fans after the final whistle.