CHRIS Allen is Finuge's Mr Reliable.
Rarely in the headlines, but invariably on his game. He's the type of player managers just love. Low profile, hard working, a man who delivers game in game out. Sunday was no different. Paudie Galvin with his two points from play, Maurice Corridan with his fetches at midfield and Paul Galvin with his fine final fifteen minutes caught the eye. All through the match Allen was solid as a rock. Doing his job as always. Low key. Conscientious. When the pressure was on, in the first half especially, on more than one occasion he anticipated the break, stole into position and swept the ball up, frustrating Monasterevin's faltering attack yet further. He knew what he job was. He did it as effectively as he could and that was effective, indeed.
"Before the ball was thrown in we just got together and said 'lads we knew we lost the toss, we're playing against the wind and all we have to do is contain these boys to as little scores as possible in the first half'," he said.
"I suppose we could have gone up two points, we gave away two sloppy points towards the end of the first half, that was down t o Monasterevin's hard workrate, a few sloppy mistakes by us, but look we were delighted to be going in at half-time even, maybe even a point or two down at halftime would have been a good score. We talked again at half-time and everybody did what they had to do."
Into the second half, with Finuge well on top, the wides kept on coming. Frustrating for fans? You betcha. Frustrating for a corner-back with his eyes firmly on Croke Park? Let's hear what he has to say.
"You're there thinking, 'jayz if one of these points goes over we can get on a bit of a roll'," Allen revealed.
"We were getting on top around midfield, a lot of the boys were winning the breaking ball around midfield, it's disappointing when you see the ball going wide, but look we were on top I knew we'd create the chances and it's just about being patient in conditions like this. It's testing conditions, the wind was swirling around on the right hand side of the field it seemed to be coming down or going west and on the other side it seemed to be going east."
Paud ie Galvin's second point of the game, 52 minutes into the second half, stopped the rot. A wry smile must have crossed the corner-back's lips when he saw that it was a fellow defender who seemed to have dug his side out of the dangerzone and not an attacker.
"He loves the outside of the boot," Allen said.
"He's a very talented young fella, he can play in any position on the pitch. He's had an enormous season for us at wing-back. His energy up and down the field, his ability to tackle, hard but fair, and he's got a lovely right boot. Popped it over the bar and we were just delighted to see it go over."
That point and the two points which followed it – from the boots of James Flaherty and Maurice Corridan – ensured Finuge's passge to Croke Park. The club's first ever appearance in Croke Park it should be noted.
"It's huge for the parish," Allen commented.
"You look at Finuge. Finuge is a crossroads with a pub and a Gaelic Football pitch, it doesn't have a church and then there's the parish of Lixnaw over the road. It's a small area, but look there's a lot of people there today. The support there today was enormous, in Mallow for the Munster final we'd a great support as well. When we talk about 2004, we were the first team to win a Junior All Ireland and we got to play that in Portlaoise. "Since then the final has been in Croke Park and that's something we've missed out on, a lot of the boys would have played in Croke Park already, but the rest of us haven't and we're delighted to have the opportunity to represent ourselves, our club, our families and everything like that."