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Orlagh Lally celebrates with an emotional Meath manager Eamonn Murray after the final whistle. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Orlagh Lally celebrates with an emotional Meath manager Eamonn Murray after the final whistle. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Orlagh Lally celebrates with an emotional Meath manager Eamonn Murray after the final whistle. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

droghedaindependent

TO lead a county to an All-Ireland senior title is every manager’s dream, but to put back-to-back titles together is the stuff of legends and Meath manager Eamonn Murray’s contribution to this glorious era of ladies football in the county will be an everlasting legacy.

There were emotional scenes following the final whistle, tears of joy mixed with sadness as two of his star players – Vikki Wall and Orlagh Lally – brought the curtain down on their Meath careers in the short term at least as they get set for life-changing careers in the Australian FL. Another member of the team is set to go travelling, while there could also be big changes in Murray’s backroom team.

“That was the perfect send-off for the girls that are leaving,” Murray said in the media briefing.

“It was very emotional for us all, but they can leave with their heads held high. They have two All-Ireland senior titles. We are probably good enough to win three or four in a row, but losing key players will probably prevent that. We wish them luck and look forward to they coming back and I know they will be back,” he continued.

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“It takes a very special bunch to complete a two-in-a-row. We started the year off very quietly, won the league without playing well and started the championship then, and we gradually got better with each outing and we kept the best until today.

“It was good that they gave us a ‘handy day out’ and not leave us sweating at the end like the two previous outings!” Murray quipped.

This season was all about peaking at the correct time and producing the best form when it mattered most, according to the Boardsmill clubman.

“It was timed to perfection and we knew that. This can only give the whole county a boost.

“I think we showed a few other counties that it can be done. Kerry probably thought during the week that they knew our system and how we play, but Dublin thought the same last year. When you hit this system you know all about it. Kerry haven’t been held to 1-7 for a very long time. It was us who got the goals, probably our highest score for quite a while.

“The big game for me all year was against Galway. I knew how good they were. We conceded 1-11 against them – that was the highest score we conceded in a long time. Emma Duggan’s class point that day probably changed the year for us.”

Kerry threatened to sweep the champions off their feet in the opening passages as they hit two early points and then a goal. However Murray said he was unfazed by the Kingdom’s whirlwind start.

“You would never be worried with this bunch of players. The response was brilliant. Three different players scoring goals.

“Bridgetta Lynch came off the bench and was magic, the best game of her life. All our subs did great – I think we proved today that we had a good panel of subs.

“If you are going to concede a goal it is better to concede it early on. It was a cracking shot, but we closed up shop after that. We did miss a few in the first half and we also dropped a few short, but we also had the advantage of a slight breeze in the second half.

“The support was brilliant. We probably had more support than the other five teams put together.”


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