A BAND of brothers, many who have soldiered long and hard together, finally got their just reward on Saturday night in Parnell Park.
There were actually five sets of brothers on the team, McCaffertys, O'Flahertys, Kennedys, Morris's and O'Flynns. For all the Syls players this was local and personal and the bonds of brotherhood were stamped all over this victory. There was plenty of experience. Hilary has been stopping missiles for more than 20 years and Martin Ormonde has been landing them over and under for quite a while as well. Russi Cleere, Ronan Kennedy and Johnny Conway have long service records of valour and distinction. The future was there in Andrew Richardson, Kevin Clarke, Stephen Keogh, Barry Kiely, Ciaran Falvey, Gareth McGrath, Paul Christie and David Keogh.
One warrior, Pats O'Leary, was missing from the action but he was there in the performance. Injustice is a great motivator. 'There's only one Pat's O'Leary' was sung like a hymn into the night in Church Road. The great motivator himself, Tommy Naughton, was also out there on the field. His trademark was there in every tackle, in the supreme effort and in the belief to come back from adversity to earn a well-deserved victory. His comment after the match, 'we need to push on now', says it all. Pat Keogh and Leonard O'Carroll have soldiered long to keep the embers of hurling alight in Malahide and great work has had its reward.