‘This is one of the best days of my life’

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT -

AUGHRIM man­ager Liam Keenan Snr shed tears of un­bri­dled joy last Satur­day afternoon af­ter guid­ing his beloved hurlers to the Philip Doyle Ju­nior ‘B’ hurl­ing crown by beat­ing Ark­low Rocks in the de­cider in Aughrim.

A long and bar­ren decade has passed since an Aughrim adult team com­peted in Wick­low com­pe­ti­tions but the Gran­ite City men re­turned with a bang this sea­son and the im­por­tance of and the pas­sion for the small ball game in the vil­lage of Aughrim could be clearly seen once that fi­nal whis­tle sounded on Satur­day afternoon.

‘This is one of the best days of my life,’ said Liam Keenan Snr af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle in Aughrim. ‘10 years ago, I was with Christy O’Brien keep­ing hurl­ing go­ing in Aughrim. It floun­dered. But this year I took it on my­self, the club gave me sup­port to go ahead with it. I went through thick and thin, got my lads back, some of them played with me 11 years ago, young lads com­ing up, we’ve seven Mi­nors com­ing into the panel next year and the ju­ve­nile struc­ture is go­ing so well, we’ll have hurl­ing in Aughrim, we are thriv­ing. We’ve two un­der-11 hurl­ing teams and two un­der-12 hurl­ing teams com­ing, so the pan­els are there,’ he added.

What made it dif­fer­ent this year? ‘There were seven lads com­ing in next year and we had no club for them, the team is there for them now and they have some­thing to look up to,’ said Liam.

Liam was full of praise for all his play­ers but espe­cially for the stal­warts who ansered his call and who emp­tied the tank for Aughrim hurl­ing all sea­son.

‘Paul Whe­lan, Sean O’Neill, Max Mol­loy, Ciaran Byrne, cap­tained the last team (and man of the match on Satur­day), and David Whitty, that man got two in­jec­tions yes­ter­day, and in­jec­tions this morn­ing, and he couldn’t be bet on the line.

‘I am proud as could be and I will keep hurl­ing go­ing here. Hurl­ing was al­ways my game and al­ways will be.

‘The only prob­lem I have now is that they all want to drink out of the cup, and I am a pi­o­neer,’ he said.

Liam said that the in­tro­duc­tion of Sean O’Neill and some other ma­ture play­ers stead­ied a shaky ship at half-time.

‘In the first half the game seemed to be pass­ing them by, they came out very ner­vous.

‘The younger lads have been win­ning hurl­ing for the last few years, it wasn’t so bad on them.

‘But the older crew, the el­der states­men, it passed them by a lit­tle bit.

‘But with Sean O’Neill and a few more com­ing on at half-time. it stead­ied things,’ he added.

A de­lighted Shane and Sophie O’Lough­lin af­ter Aughrim’s fan­tas­tic win in the Ju­nior ‘B’ hurl­ing fi­nal.

Diar­muid and Paul Whe­lan with the Ju­nior ‘B’ cup.

Liam Keenan Snr cel­e­brates with Aughrim sup­port­ers af­ter the game.

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