Sunday 21 July 2019

Gorey going places

Pettitt's SHC final preview: New final experience will be relished

Naomh Eanna mentors Pat Doyle, Paudge Cronin, Louis Cullen and Willie Cleary after their semi-final success
Naomh Eanna mentors Pat Doyle, Paudge Cronin, Louis Cullen and Willie Cleary after their semi-final success

Dean Goodison

Meteoric climbs happen.

In G.A.A. it's almost always the result of painstaking work at under-age level, over multiple years, carried through to the adult ranks, where players and management are bound together in a common, long-held goal of being the best.

On Sunday, Naomh Eanna look to complete their Everest.

'We are new to this, the lads have never played in a Senior final,' explained club stalwart Louis Cullen.

'Four or five years ago we were in Intermediate 'A', third division hurling in Wexford. It's a good auld climb up the ladder for the lads but they are ambitious too, that's my opinion and I know what they are thinking, they will go out there and give it a cut.'

The approach has served the side he, Paudge Cronin, Pat Doyle and trainer Willie Cleary preside over pretty well.

Their sole loss - the only game they have played that was decided by a puck of the ball - was way back in April. Since then they have been peerless but quietly it has been a struggle.

'It's very hard, even prior to the Rathnure match, we hadn't access to players for months and weeks before it, its very hard for club teams, and I'm speaking with my club hat on. I love to see Wexford doing well but with my club hat on it's not ideal,' Cullen admitted.

'In our case we had five or six lads arriving back, it's very hard to gel it together. Same with every club. It takes time, the problem is, if you lose a couple of matches while you are getting that time you are out of the championship.'

The good news for Gorey is that they are a team on the rise. They hit the ground running after the break and wins saw the momentum quickly build.

'Beating Glynn-Barntown, beating Oulart, every day we were getting a little bit stronger,' Cullen said.

It saw Gorey deservedly finish top of the group, and set up a quarter-final with St. Anne's. That was navigated with a strong showing before the draw pitted the in-form Naomh Eanna against familiar foes Oylegate-Glenbrien.

'For the neutral it was probably very entertaining because it was very up and down, we were happy to get over the line,' Cullen said.

'I wouldn't agree with a lot of the assessment from the experts that Oylegate were this and that, Oylegate are a mighty fine team and they won't go away.'

Now it's county final time, there's a feel-good factor around the town of Gorey about their club and everyone is feeling it. Naomh Eanna are up against a familiar foe and there is nothing but respect from Cullen for a club that is slowly building a competitive rivalry with his own outfit.

'I think overall they are just a very good team, I couldn't speak highly enough of St. Martin's, there is talent in every line, they have a massive bench, they are good at what they do. They have reached Senior football finals, county hurling finals, their record speaks for itself.

'We know we are going to have a mighty, mighty challenge to get over it. There's no point us getting to the final and saying we have achieved our goal, we have to go down and think we can win it.

'I'd say for us to come out on top we have to go from the first minute to the last minute, there's no way around it.

'There can be no lapse, there can be no 20-minute period when you don't do this or that, we have to go for it.'

Gorey Guardian