Sunday 18 February 2018

Success means the world to dedicated clubman Tony

HUNTERSTOWN were already assured of Junior Championship glory long before the finish in Dunleer, but that didn't dampen the celebrations in the slightest.

The Pairc Uí Mhuirí pitch became a sea of red after the final whistle, Finbarrs supporters having long since drifted away, and manager Tony Finn struggled to make himself heard as his players got their hands on the Christy Bellew Cup.

'You can see what it means to people and there are tears in mentors' eyes because it's been a long time since we last won a championship in '99. I've been involved with Hunterstown from Under-12, so it means a lot, but it's for the community and the club.

'It's great for Hunterstown Rovers. We did expect a stiffer test, but you are not sure even yourself even though you prepare well. I'm sure the Finbarrs prepared well too, but you have to produce it on the day.

'It was tight enough at the beginning, but we just seemed to get a few good scores and started to push on.'

Finn acknowledged that Hunterstown's prospects were boosted by the injury to Finbarrs' William Woods who had scored considerably more in the championship than all his teammates put together.

'It changed the game, but to be fair to our lads we kept really focused on what we had to do. It was unfortunate for them [Finbarrs], but even though we were well up at half-time we had to really push on and we did that against the Seans in the semi-final as well.

'You can't take your foot off the pedal, you just need to keep at it.'

As the manager was talking, a huge roar of approval went up as the Man of the Match award went to Hunterstown substitute Brendan Lennon, but in truth there were a number of other deserving players wearing red too.

'Brendan has been a good player for us, but there were a few very good performances there. His brother Martin had a good performance and certainly the young kid on the block Ryan Burns kicked some tremendous scores. Around the middle of the field and the full back line there were probably a good few candidates there who could have got Man of the Match, but look, somebody has to get it.'

Hunterstown had a taste of Senior football at the turn of the century and so there's no reason why they can't make an impression at Intermediate level, according to Finn.

'We have got to hold our own in Intermediate. We have got to do that after achieving this. I was talking about it over the week and playing in Division 2 has been a big plus for us because we've had tough games all year and we needed to have that to prepare for this game.'

Whether the manager will still be there to guide Rovers' fortunes, though, remains to be seen.

'I know that it's a bit of a cliche, but we'll enjoy the celebrations and see how we go!' he said.

The Argus

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