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Edward Coady believes Mount Leinster Rangers can continue their fairytale journey

Edward Coady believes Mount Leinster Rangers can continue their fairytale journey

SPORTSFILE

Edward Coady believes Mount Leinster Rangers can continue their fairytale journey

MOUNT Leinster Rangers have defied all odds to reach the AIB All-Ireland Senior Club hurling semi-final and veteran Edward Coady has called for one more giant-killing act from his club-mates against Loughgiel Shamrocks at Newry today.

Coady (36), was voted the Carlow Hurler of the Year for 2013, a testament to his enduring quality and commitment to the club and county scene, but he would swap all individual accolades for a place in the All-Ireland final on St Patrick's Day.

Mount Leinster Rangers, managed by Kilkenny native Tom Mullally, have already shattered the hopes of fancied challengers Ballyboden St Endas and, most recently, Oulart-The Ballagh of Wexford in the Leinster semi-final and final respectively.

Can they keep the run going against a Loughgiel side which is playing its fourth consecutive All-Ireland semi-final and which won the title in 2012?

The answer will be revealed at the end of what promises to be a titanic struggle at Pairc Esler in Newry.

For Coady, the main task is to keep control of nerves and go into action with all the self-belief the Rangers can muster.

UNCHARTERED

"When you're in the last four, you're in uncharted territory, for ourselves anyway. You just have hope your preparation will have you in tip-top shape and then hope everything goes your way on the day.

"There is an expectation after winning Leinster, but Loughgiel have been All-Ireland champions and were beaten by St Thomas' after a replay last year.

"They know what it takes and are well seasoned at this stage. We're kind of the poor relation coming into the game, but we won't worry about that.

"Sixty minutes is all it takes and if we can perform like we did in the Leinster semi-final or final for those 60 minutes, who knows? Please God, it will work out for us," he said.

Everything worked out in fine style for Mount Leinster on December 1 when they carved out a special niche in club and Carlow history by annexing the Leinster title at the expense of a battle-hardened Oulart-The Ballagh.

No team from Carlow had previously taken a senior provincial title and the emotions overflowed at the end of a special day.

Said Coady: "We were the underdog, the bridesmaids, whatever. People will always give you that support when you are the underdog.

"With 10 minutes to go, there was a serious momentum behind us and the crowd in Nowlan Park that day was unbelievable.

"We had a lot of neutral support on the day. The atmosphere from the stand and that vibe in the last 10 minutes – it was like we were standing six inches taller.

"Calling it an outpouring of emotion is a good way of summing it up.

"It has sunk in to some degree, but the competition is not over yet. So you enjoy it with club and family, but we have something else to play for still," said Coady.

The joy of an historic victory was enhanced by Edward sharing it with his brothers Paul, Richard, and John who are also on the team.

All the Coadys, and everyone associated with Mount Leinster Rangers, want to keep the run of success going, but they accept that Loughgiel are a formidable obstacle to their ambitions.

"Loughgiel are physically very tough and demanding. They've set high standards for themselves. We saw them in the All-Ireland two years ago and we saw them last year.

BELIEVE

"They know how to win. They know what it takes to get to that level and succeed at it, but we have to believe in ourselves.

"We'll back each other to the hilt. That's the ethos of the club," he said.

No matter how the semi-final pans out, Edward Coady has no intention of retiring.

He's been on the road a long time since making his debut for Carlow in the 1999 National League.

Along the way he has won silverware, including Christy Ring and Kehoe Cup medals, plus Division 2 League honours with the county, and a Leinster and all-Ireland Intermediate title with the club.

Could he have been tempted to quit, particularly after 2012 when Mount Leinster won the Intermediate provincial and national honours?

The answer is a firm "No."

"If you love playing, you'll stay playing, whether it be at junior level or intermediate level or senior level, whether you're in Croke Park or in Mount Leinster Rangers GAA pitch, you still love to be out there on any given day," said Coady.

Irish Independent