Thursday 14 November 2019

Hughes looks forward to senior challenge for his Geevagh charges

Kennedys Intermediate Football Championship Final: Bunninadden 3-05 Geevagh 2-16

Emma Gallagher

A delighted John Hughes said he is thrilled that Geevagh will make their return to the Senior grade next year after defeating a valiant Bunninadden in Markievicz Park on Sunday.

The Geevagh manager added: "We are very, very proud. We worked very hard all year and I said to the boys going out on the field at half 3 that we hit form then we'll be hard stopped.

"The first half we were a bit anxious, we had a few guys who had been carrying injuries all week and it took them awhile to get into it but I think once we found our rhythm in the secnd half we pushed on from there.

"But it was a very tough game, it is never any different when we play Bunninadden. I think they deserve tremendous credit, they are an inspiration to most rural clubs.

"They were out on their feet earlier on in the Championship and they came back and in the first half there today it looked like they were going to pull it off. So well done to Bunninadden as well," John said.

The manager said that Geevagh's early goal in the first minute set things up nicely but in fairness Bunninadden battled back.

"In fairness to Daniel he's a fine young player, himself and TJ are the young players on our panel. He's a very good footballer and when you get a good footballer he can do it on the day and that's what Daniel did for us today.

"In a way the goal might have come too early, because we had a big win over Bunninadden earlier on in the Championship and all of a sudden here we go again, we're a goal up after 2 minutes and they sat back but Bunninadden picked themselves up off the floor and they were the better team for the next 15 or 20 minutes.

"What won it for us I think was that we fought our way back and got our noses in front going in at half time, that was very important."

John praised the Geevagh forward line who were in impressive form on the day too.

They now progress in Connacht to meet Mayo champions The Neale in Markievicz Park on Sunday week but John admitted that focus was very much on Sunday's final and getting over the line.

"We haven't really thought beyond this but now we're going to have a chat and if we decide to go for it, we'll go for it but certainly that's one box ticked for this year and you know going on to Connacht now will be great experience because we're aware there's a whole other division above us in the Senior that we got to be ready for next year so a run or a couple of games in Connacht would be ideal preparation.

"It is great to be back in Senior. We have some fine players, we have a lot of guys who have played county and are currently playing county or in the mix so it's very important that they are up there in the Senior grade."

John also praised the Geevagh support there on the day. "Well this team captured the imagination that hasn't happened for years in Geevagh.

"We've had flags and bunting up and all the school children are here and everywhere I went in the last week or two, it was just well wishers. I think whatever it is about them, they are a great bunch of fellas and they play the game as it should be played and I think they are a great inspiration to the youth.

"Myself, I've no problem recommending to young players to come and watch these guys. They do set the bar very high and their behaviour too. Hopefully that bodes well for the future too," John added.

Sligo Champion