KILLARNEY Legion are certainly on the up-and-up and last Saturday's victory over Austin Stacks in the County Under-21 Club Championship Final was another step in the right direction for the town club.
This was the second year in a row that Legion have secured the Tom Naughton Cup and with 14 of the starting 15 eligible for the grade again next year, who's to say that the green and white will not make it three titles on-thetrot.
This year the ultimate prize of the County Under21 Championship eluded them. They were narrowly pipped by a Rathmore / Kilcummin combination in August and that painful defeat, as manager John McCarthy alluded to postmatch, provided a major spur in the quest for county club honours.
"After losing the county championship final we made a promise that we would come back and win this competition," he said.
"We really rose the game in extra-time. We brought on one or two subs. We brought on Tom Slattery who is in his last year playing under-21 football. He didn't start because he hasn't been playing that much football because he was working in Dublin. We brought him on as a blood sub in the first half and he set up a score and we brought him on as a sub in extra-time and scored a goal with his left leg. He never kicked the ball with his left leg before in his life!
"I said it this morning but Fitzgerald Stadium stands to us. We've played there a number of times and some of the guys play here a lot with the seniors. We also had the subs to bring on. It happened to us in the county final when Rathmore/Kilcummin had the subs to bring on and we didn't. But we did today and that made a huge difference," the Legion mentor added.
McCarthy found time to sympathise with Austin Stacks, who really out it up to his side for most of the game, before lauding the performance of man of the match Shaun Keane and looking ahead to a bright future for the Killarney club.
"Fair play to Austin Stacks. They were gutted after the final whistle, very disappointed. We had the luck on the day," he remarked.
"Shaun Keane was ferocious. He made block downs, picked up so much loose ball, kicked two points and deservedly won man of the match in my eyes.
"Of the starting 15 only one is overage next year. What a team."