Monday 19 November 2018

Duane the toast of Kanturk after leading club to the ultimate

Diarmuid Sheehan

Donagh Duane is the toast of Kanturk right now after guiding the club to their All Ireland glory last weekend.

The Kanturk manager stood back to the walk in the tunnel under the Hogan Stand on Sunday trying to make sense of what he and his team had achieved and while he made a good fist of explaining things it was clear that the enormity of what had just occurred was still a long way from settling with him.

His Kanturk side had finished the longest of campaigns with an All-Ireland success and all involved were trying to take it all in.

"First of all, what a feeling to be standing in Croke Park watching captain Lorcan O'Neill lift the cup with the whole town standing behind him shouting and cheering him on - once again this team like to put us management on the line through the mill.

"Our resilience was tested again today like it was on several occasions this year in huge finals - whether it was Mallow or Ballyduff, Kilmaley and now here today with Ballyragget, our resilience came through here again and I just couldn't be prouder of every one of those lads.

"A remarkable bunch of lads - we lost a key player with 10 minutes to go [Aidan Walsh] and that could have deflated a team when they lose a leader like that but for some reason that is not this bunch - they came around, went up the field and got a fantastic winning point. I am just over the moon right now."

Managers will tell you that a side are never beat till the final whistle is sounded, but Duane admitted he did think that this one had got away when his side went down late on to a Ballyragget team hell-bent on glory for themselves.

"You never dream that something like this can happen. We looked beat. I thought just for a second that it was gone but this team have real heart. They never give up. We have seen that over and over again this season and ultimately they got their reward.

"It was the best possible way to win it. A monster point in the last minute of added time. A great way to win but a terrible way for Ballyragget to lose. They were brilliant today, but this was our day and we couldn't be happier.

"It is an amazing day for all of us. For the supporters, the players, the fans, the families and for the town and for Duhallow as well. I think only now I can take a breath. It has been one heck of a journey.

"A journey that has been life changing for many of us. We became so tight as a unit, as friends as everything. I spoke earlier about our trip to Killenard for the game that was cancelled, it didn't affect us.

"We had good craic - that's just how things went. There were no arguments or falling outs it was just one hell of a life changing journey that we will never forget it."

Duane may not have had all the stats avail to him at the final whistle and at that point he hardly would have cared but he was able to appreciate the achievement of what his side had just accomplished.

"It was a huge task ahead of us coming up here today. Kilkenny sides have dominated this competition and we knew that. I felt in the first half we were well worth our lead in fact I thought the score-line was a little bit hard on us. I know we went in four points up but I felt we were worth more but right now none of that matters. We did it."

Duane will enjoy both his and his team's notoriety over the next few weeks however it will be back to the drawing board sooner rather than later as the best intermediate side in Ireland pit their wits against some of the best senior clubs in the land - with Newtownshandrum first up.

The Game in 60 seconds

Main man

Usually you would say there could only be one but on this occasion, it could be any of them. Kanturk's players to a man were fantastic, but as we are in the job of naming one perhaps the man who got the award on the day could keep the crown. Ryan Walsh was brilliant and deserves the award.

Score of the Game

Ian Walsh's point at the end will be the stuff of legend. Ryan Walsh's goal was inspirational and Aidan Walsh's second of two points was brilliant, but Lorcán McLoughlin's point to level things up was not just the best score of this game, but the best since Joe Canning's wonder point last year.

Turning Point

Many twists and turns during the 65 minutes or so but to name one it seems the injury to Aidan Walsh late on inspired a Kanturk side that were clearly in trouble. They fought for their fallen friend and themselves and the pulled it off spectacularly.

Ref Watch

Limerick's Johnny Murphy was terrific. He managed the game well. Kept the cards to a minimum. Blew the whistle only when required. He ran a good game. Can barely remember him getting involved and for a referee there is no bigger compliment.