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Wednesday 17 September 2014

McEneaney insists club should host final

Published 20/11/2013 | 05:20

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EAMONN McEneaney sees no reason why Geraldines cannot host the Leinster final clash with Naomh Olaf on Sunday week as his team chase an unprecented treble.

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'There's no reason why it shouldn't be in Haggarsdtown, it's the nominated county ground for an awful lot of matches,' he insisted after Sunday's semi-final win over St Fintan's. 'National League, Leinster U-21 and Leinster minor games are played here, so there's no reason why we can't host it. The Leinster semi-final was hosted on a pitch today that doesn't have a wall around it . Geraldines has a wall and a stand, so I don't see any reason why we shouldn't host it.'

With the showdown initially fixed for Drogheda it remains to be seen if Geraldines can host the clash. O'Connell's were forced to play their Intermediate final in Drogheda last year, but St Mochta's hosted their Junior decider against Longwood in Louth Village in 2009.

Either way McEneaney's side will go into the decider with a spring in their step after a pulsating victory on Sunday.

The former Louth boss was over-joyed and relieved in almost equal measure, but he was also quick to praise both teams for a marvellous game of football.

'It was one of those ones where you had to dig it out because neither team was willing to give in. We seemed to have the upperhand, but once we pulled away they'd come back with a goal.

'Obviously we made a mistake for the goal at the end of normal time and that brought them back into it, but credit to the lads when they trooped in at the end of normal time the heads were down a little bit. We just said to them it's starting again, you were the better team over the hour and you can be the better team now if you really want it and to be fair to them they showed they really wanted it.

'All the things we have learned this year stood to us in extra time, we dug in and got some great scores. In fairness to both teams there was some great football played today.'

Goalkeeper Nathaniel Cooney's late blunder almost proved costly, but McEneaney pointed out that goalkeepers are often the heroes and villains of the same show.

Nathaniel knows he didn't cover himself in glory for the goal, but having said that he pulled off a brilliant save in extra time and he made two great saves in Haggardstown last week too. Everybody has to put the shoulder to the wheel when someone makes a mistake and in fairness to the lads they did. A couple of wee switches, putting in fresh legs seemed to work too, because Fintan's seemed to be fading in extra time and we were still coming, even at the final whistle it was us who were driving forward.'

With his son Jim still out, McEneaney was delighted with the performance of Shane O'Hanlon, who kicked 1-9 on the day.

'It has been a hallmark of the last two games in particular that we have kicked scores from all kinds of places, but Shane stood up and was counted today. He did what a leader needs to do in a team and showed why he is one of the best up-and-coming young players in the county. He's a quiet, shy fella, but he really stood up and was counted today.

'The lads went away and practiced their frees during the week and it paid off, even that last one might have looked simple, but when it's to win a match...Michael was cool and calm and stroked it over. At vital stages in the game he stood up and was counted as well.'

Whatever happens with the venue issue, McEneaney is glad of a two-week break before the final, and he just wants his players to enjoy the experience.

'I'm glad it's not next week because I don't think we could have gone three weeks in a row in these conditions. It's a home match which for us is massive. We'll rest up over the next couple of days.

'For the lads to be in a Leinster final it's a huge day for them, one of the biggest possibly in their lives, and we'll certainly be ready for that.'

The Argus

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