Thursday 14 December 2017

Coady urges Mount Leinster to focus on Oulart challenge

Mount Leinster’s Gary Kelly (L) and Richard Coady celebrate after their victory Ballyboden St Enda's on Sunday PAT MURPHY / SPORTSFILE
Mount Leinster’s Gary Kelly (L) and Richard Coady celebrate after their victory Ballyboden St Enda's on Sunday PAT MURPHY / SPORTSFILE
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

THEY were remarkably relaxed in picturesque Borris yesterday after pulling off one of the biggest shocks in the history of club hurling.

"Ah we're happy enough to do our own thing, we don't go looking for headlines," said Mount Leinster Rangers selector John Coleman, insisting that there were no wild celebrations after their sensational two-point Leinster club SHC victory over Ballyboden St Enda's last Sunday.

"Sure we haven't won anything yet, we still have a Leinster final to play in two weeks' time."

Wing-back Edward Coady was similarly nonplussed and didn't have time to hang around gassing about the historic bit of giant-killing. A self-employed toolmaker who runs his own design company, he had to fly to Munich yesterday for a four-day business trip.

Coady (35) is one of the club's physical and spiritual leaders, who has also already given 15 years unstinting service to the county team. But he likes to point out that he's not Mount Leinster's oldest player.


"That's Frank (Foley, goalkeeper), he's exactly a month older than me," he said.

"I know because we were in the same class together all the way up from primary school."

Knowing your team-mate's date of birth is not unusual in a place as tiny and tightly-knit as one-street Borris, and Coady said the hurlers were secretly confident in their ability to beat the Dublin champions.

"I know it's a momentous victory for a Carlow club and for Carlow hurling in general but, within the nucleus of the club, we weren't surprised," he said.

"We really thought we had a great chance, particularly after the way we played against Kilcormac-Killoughey last year and seeing how far they got afterwards.

"We had home advantage too, which was a help, but the biggest thing for us was the way we did it, the quality of the hurling. It was probably the best game we ever played. In sport, if you turn up and produce your best, you always have a chance.

"I met neutrals who were at it and they said it was a brilliant game of hurling, and that's what was so good as well, that we won such a great game."

Their vaunted opposition contained big Dublin names like Conal Keaney, Paul Ryan, Conor McCormack and Stephen Hiney, to name but a few.

Given that Mount Leinster feature seven Carlow seniors, won the 2011 All-Ireland intermediate club title and ran this year's All-Ireland finalists (Kilcormac-Killoughey) to 1-11 to 0-9 last year, they were expected to give Ballyboden a decent rattle but never to win.

Three of Coady's brothers also started – Richard and Paul are also Carlow seniors.

Two of the club's three Byrne brothers (Eddie and teenager Diarmuid) are also Carlow seniors, as are penalty-saving hero Foley and Hugh Paddy O'Byrne.

The Coadys and the Byrnes have been integral to Carlow's steady inter-county progress in the past decade.

Rangers' geographical situation means they're among the Carlow clubs who play across the border in a special club competition called the 'Kilkenny League', which helps sharpen their skills, and their manager Tom Mullally is a Kilkenny man.

At local level, the club lost three county finals before going on their recent glory run, contesting the last nine Carlow SHC finals and winning six of them.

But last Sunday was undoubtedly the greatest day in Mount Leinster's history, and Coady says they have resolved that more memorable victories will follow.

"It's one thing to beat Ballyboden, but it's another to win big games like that back to back," he said.

"Sunday was fantastic but we haven't won any silverware yet and we're facing Oulart (The Ballagh) now, who have lost the last three Leinster finals and have a real point to prove.

"It'll be another huge challenge but it's still the same game and we just have another 60 minutes of hurling ahead of us to win some silverware, and that will be our focus."

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