DE LA SALLE, Wicklow are FAI Schools Junior Boys All-Ireland champions and stand-in boss Seamus Diamond admits yesterday's penalty-shootout win over Scoil Mhuire SS of Buncrana was the perfect send-off for the school.
Diamond has been filling in for manager Avril Doorley since the last-16 stage of the Leinster competition and yesterday watched on as his side came through 110 nail-biting minutes of normal and extra time to beat their Ulster counterparts 8-7 on penalties.
The Oriel Park encounter was De La Salle's first All-Ireland final appearance in their 99-year history and their win was ideal ahead of the upcoming merger with their VEC school neighbours in the summer, according to the boss.
"It is just unbelievable; 99 years in existence, closing next September and we had never been in an All-Ireland final before and now we have won an All-Ireland title," he said.
"It was an incredible match and just so intense for the entire afternoon until penalties came in the end.
"Nobody, from either side, wanted it to be decided on penalties and it is just incredible because the day before De La Salle, Waterford won the senior All-Ireland title 8-7 on penalties too after a goalless draw and that was actually the school I went to."
Goalkeeper Andrew Murphy's crucial penalty save in Dundalk ensured that De La Salle eventually came out on top of their rivals from Buncrana.
It was substitute Cian Verney who dispatched the winning spot kick at the end of a nervy afternoon of action.
However, another late introduction, Luke Byrne, could have sealed the win in extra time, but rushed an effort wide.
John Crowe and Peter McLaughlin traded a rare chance for each side in the opening half, before De La Salle went close again after the break when Karl Earls blasted wide in the area.
Ryan Curren threatened with a chance for Scoil Mhuire in the final stages of normal time but the contest was destined for penalties and Murphy seized his chance.
DE LA SALLE WICKLOW: A Murphy, L Earls, J Crowe, B Doyle, K Earls, N Fagan, S Bouchier, A Cox, M O'Sullivan, J Kavanagh, D Orr. Subs: C Verney for Fagan (64), L Byrne for Bouchier (84).
SCOIL MHUIRE SS BUNCRANA: H Doherty, B Barber, R Doherty, P Doherty, B Waldron, R Curren, R Varma, D O'Connor, P McLaughlin, M Timlin, D Doherty.