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Coady's confident Leinster can do summit special against 2012 champions

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Edward Coady, Mount Leinster Rangers. Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Edward Coady, Mount Leinster Rangers. Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Brothers from left, John, Richard, Paul and Edward Coady, Mount Leinster Rangers. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Brothers from left, John, Richard, Paul and Edward Coady, Mount Leinster Rangers. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

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Edward Coady, Mount Leinster Rangers. Picture: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

JUST one chance.

That's how Edward Coady is approaching this Saturday's AIB All-Ireland club senior hurling semi-final.

When you are in your mid-30s and have spent virtually half a lifetime playing senior hurling for your club (Mount Leinster Rangers) and your county (Carlow) without getting remotely close to a day like this ... well then, you are talking a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that must be grabbed by the throat.

"I think guys realise that these opportunities don't come around every day," Coady reflected, as he gears up for Saturday's trip to Newry and a showdown with the 2012 All-Ireland champions, Loughgiel of Antrim.

"While they may come around again next year, they may never come again. So there's one chance and the Leinster final epitomised that.

"There's one chance to grab this and take it and be in Croke Park on St Patrick's Day, where every club hurler wants to be.

"We looked at Birr, Newtownshandrum, Athenry, Portumna, all these fantastic teams winning club All-Irelands when we were growing up, and you'd say: 'Wouldn't you love to be there, is there ever a chance that a Carlow team would get there?'

"You'd have to be straight and say 'I don't think so,' but it's amazing what a little bit of success and some breaks on the way and a bit of momentum behind you ... and look, you're in the last four."

Sceptics will argue that Mount Leinster Rangers have already enjoyed their 'All-Ireland final', on that seismic December day when they ambushed Oulart-The Ballagh in the Leinster final at Nowlan Park. Then again, the same sceptics had earlier told us that beating Ballyboden St Enda's in the semi-final constituted their 'Leinster final'.

Now for Loughgiel, who know what it's like to be unheralded (because of geography) and heroic (at bucking the odds).

"There's no massive expectations, although we'll put expectation on ourselves of course," insisted the eldest member of Mount Leinster's Coady quartet (alongside brothers John, Richard and Paul).

"There is an expectation after winning Leinster but Loughgiel have been All-Ireland champions and were beaten by St Thomas' (the eventual champions) after a replay last year. They know what it takes and are well seasoned at this stage.

"We're kind of the poor relation coming in but we won't worry about that.

"Sixty minutes is all it takes and if we can perform like we did in the Leinster semi-final or final, for those 60 minutes, who knows."

Casting his mind back to Leinster, he reckons Dr Cullen Park ("We know this pitch like the back of our hands," he said) gave Mount Leinster a critical couple of points against Ballyboden. And the final?

 

CAULDRON

"Nowlan Park is quite a little cauldron in itself and we had a massive support," the 35-year-old veteran recalled. "That vibe came definitely in the last ten minutes – it was like we were standing six inches taller. We still could have been caught with a goal at the end but when you have momentum swinging with you, you try to take advantage."

Two years have passed since MLR claimed an All-Ireland intermediate crown, but senior is a whole new ball game. According to Coady they have learned from previous defeats – they are not "in cloud cuckoo land" thinking victory will automatically come every day.

"We have a very good balance in our team," he added. "We have a lot of young lads coming in who know nothing but success. We have a lot of elder guys in the team who know a lot of heartache. You try to marry the two of them and maybe you get that hardness you need to win these types of hard games."

Another one beckons... time to grab that chance.


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