IT was a day for dwelling on the positives as Fingal collected the Kehoe Shield (their first piece of silverware) at Lawless Park with JM Sheridan hitting 2-8 for the home side on a coldish enough Sunday afternoon in Lawless Park.
And with just under two weeks to go before their league opener against Louth, Willie Bourke was able to focus on the plusses while at the same time admitting Armagh were not at full strength. 'That was only a second string Armagh team out there today and we knew that. We are under no illusions. 'But you can only beat what's in front of you so you have to take your opportunities.' Fingal, although missing the likes of Aodhan Mcinerney, Davy Byrne and Peter Daly (the latter coming off the bench to fire home Fingal's final goal), always had the measure of the Orchard County. Indeed the Ulster men were very much reliant on the scoring prowess of Declan Coulter who registered all but one of their scores.
This was down to the terrific corner back play of Peter Coyne and Alan Morris and Bourke was fulsome of his praise of the two afterwards. 'I made Alan captain today. He hasn't missed a training session and his hurling has come on in leaps and bounds. 'He was always there or thereabouts in terms of being in and out of the team but he has really cemented himself in there now. 'And Peter Coyne was a little terrier and he will be still like that when he is 40. He has such grit and determination and the hurling to go with it.' Fingal were very quick out of the blocks with points from Eoin Power, Sheridan (2) and Graham Dillon opening up a goal cushion on ten minutes - Coulter had pointed off a free at the other end.
Fingal had dropped a few balls short into the keeper's hands allowing Armagh to claw the deficit back to a point courtesy of two scores from the prolific Coulter. However Fingal found the back of the net on 17 minutes when Sheridan struck from the edge of the square after Power's initial shot had been parried by the keeper, 1-4 to 0-3 Sheridan and Coulter then exchanged a series of frees before Fingal struck on the half hour when Power connected with a long ball to find the back of the net from close range.
An additional free from Sheridan left it 2-7 to 0-5 at the break in a half that saw Arthur Crean and Conor Corcoran (brother of Dublin footballer Rory) show up well in the middle third of the field. And then after Declan Coulter had responded to back-to-back scores from Sheridan came the score of the game. Coyne won possession near the right hand corner flag and had the vision to find Dillon with a terrific crossfield ball. Dillon who showed terrific running all day on the forty then gave out a short pass to James O' Callaghan who from just inside the touchline drilled over a terrific score. That opened the gap to ten points and while Armagh endeavoured to say in touch, they were eventually left with too much to do when with seven minutes to go, Power batted the ball down for Sheridan who drilled low into the corner.
Daly added their fourth a few moments later and Bourke was understandably elated afterwards particularly for some of the senior members of the squad and previous coaches. 'Its brilliant for the lads. Some of them have been there from the very start, they've never won anything and have been beaten in numerous semi-finals. 'The hard work has gone on before through the likes of Denis Murphy and Ben Dorney. I've only stepped in since January so I couldn't really claim credit for it.'