A victory for departed friends
AFTER watching his Rathnew team produce an awesome performance to defeat St. Peter’s in the Wicklow Cup final on Sunday afternoon, manager Nicky Kearney has said that he was not at all surprised by the showing or result, instead stating that, when at full strength, they are as good as any team around the county.
Spurred on by tremendous displays from Theo Smith, Jody Merrigan, Eddie Doyle, and Jonah Graham – among many others - Rathnew deservedly came out on top of Peter’s. Leading for much of the game through Mark Doyle’s well-taken goal, Rathnew were pegged back by an injury-time Darren Lacey header, before falling behind in extra-time to Chad Ryan.
They proceeded to show impressive spirit to draw level through a stunning Gary Byrne volley, before going on to win the cup on penalties.
Speaking following the triumph, Kearney insisted that he was not surprised by the win, and that the narrative of Rathnew being underdogs drove them on.
‘It has always been said that if you say you are not nervous or afraid going into a cup final, you’re either a liar or you’re from Rathnew,’ Kearney said with a proud grin.
‘They had to deal with good footballers, and we knew before today that we had to deal with them, but I am not surprised. These lads are great footballers.
‘When we got the lads back from the Gaelic, this is the strongest team around. There won’t be many teams in Wicklow stronger than this lot when we are at full strength. We quietly fancied ourselves today.’
While reflecting on the game, Kearney took the time to pay tribute to those whom the club and local community have lost over the last number of years.
In May 2018, the village and county as a whole mourned the tragic loss of Jordan Quinn while, in August, Mike Doyle – longtime, dedicated servant of the club – passed away; both of whom were on the minds of the players and staff as they prepared to meet St. Peter’s, said Kearney.
‘I’ll tell you what I will say, our club has had a very hard time the past few years. We lost a player tragically two years ago, Jordan, and about two weeks ago, we lost a man who dedicated 40 years to our club, so this win is for them, and I am sure that the lads will all agree.’