Monday 19 March 2018

Drumcliffe manager praises his heroic team's character

Philip Gallagher, Drumcliffe, challenges Glen Cryan, Calry, for possession during the Intermediate final. Pic: Carl Brennan
Philip Gallagher, Drumcliffe, challenges Glen Cryan, Calry, for possession during the Intermediate final. Pic: Carl Brennan

Triumphant Drumcliffe/Rosses Point manager, Liam Gilmartin, praised his team's character after their heroic performance against Calry/St Joseph's in the Kennedy's Intermediate Championship final at Markievicz Park on Saturday.

Gilmartin came in this year and provided the winning formula after Drumcliffe had lost the last three finals.

"Losing three finals in a row must have been hard to take," said the manager.

"A lot of boys might have walked away but these lads stuck at it.

"They are such an honest group.

"They learned to take the knocks and they kept coming back.

"They were a pleasure to work with"

He said his first priority when he took over as manager was to get the team out of Division Two and back into the senior grade.

"We managed to achieve that in the League to that took the pressure off a bit", he explained.

"In the Championship it was just a case of taking one game at a time.

"But we always believed we could get over the line if we put the effort in"

Calry made Drumcliffe sweat for theri victory, launching a brave second half revival.

"Calry are a super team and we knew it would be tough.

"Fair play to them, they hung in there in the second half but I never doubted for a minute that we would pull through, ", said Gilmartin.

Drumcliffe captain, Brian Og Murphy, said the victory was reward for all the hard work put in over the years.

"This makes up for the last three years alright," he agreed.

"But it's not just about that. I've been playing with the club at all grades for 18 years so to captain the team to his Championship is very special"

Man of the match, Neil Ewing, maintained that the win was down to a superb all-round team performance.

"To be honest, I'm a bit embarrassed to be named man of the match" he said.

"There were plenty of other players more entitled to the award.

"But at the end of the day, it's not about individuals. It's about the whole team pulling together.

"That's what we're all about and every player made a huge contribution.

"We had to endure the disappointment of losing three finals so we're going to enjoy this one," he added.

Calry/St Joseph's manager, Aidan McConnon, was gracious in defeat, paying tribute to Drumcliffe.

"They're a great club and we wouldn't begrudge them their victory. They learned from losing three finals in a row and now we've got to learn from this one"

He said he was proud of his players for the effort they put in all year.

"We're a very young team so the potential is definitely there for the future. We have eleven players from the squad which won the Under 20 Championship two years ago. These lads are still learning and improving.

"If they stick together and put in a big effort they are good enough to come back and win the Championship"

He said he would take time to reflect on whether he will stay on as manager for another year.

"It's something I'll have to think about but ultimately the decision rests with the people who run the club," he added.

Sligo Champion