After savouring the hard won All Ireland Final victory on the pitch in Croke Park, an obviously elated Emmett McDonnell spoke to the assembled media under the Hogan Stand.
The Westmeath native guided the team through their championship campaign which paid off in spectacular fashion with a one sided win over St Michael’s of Enniskillen. Not surprisingly the team manager was very proud of his troops.
“I’m very proud. I’m very proud of the lads. We suffered heartbreak in 2009 in the final and we did our homework this week let me tell you. It was a long week when we had no school but we prepared well and you could see it out there today. The lads were fantastic from the start.”
St Michael’s came into the game with the reputation of being a strong defensive team but they were blitzed by the Edenderry outfit in the first half however the manager was not surprised that his side had 1-10 on the board at the break.
“Not really. We looked at them during the week. They thought they were a hard working team but they hadn’t met us yet and I think our lads bring hard work to a new level. They were fantastic out there. I think the term Enniskillen use is savage intensity and I think we certainly played with that today.”
He was however pleasantly surprised that his side had 1-6 on the board before the opposition opened their account.
“We didn’t think that to be honest. We felt we had the better forwards looking at tapes during the week but we didn’t think we’d be anywhere near that far ahead. We normally drop Ryan Caffrey back which leaves five lads up forward but their mobile and their movement is good. We spoke all week that if we got the right ball that we could cause them trouble.”
Emmett was also pleased that his side responded well when there just the hint of a fightback from St Michael’s
“They got the first points of the second-half but we tapped over one or two again and it really killed the game at that stage then. The last 15 minutes was a long 15 minutes just looking on.”
A key factor in St Mary’s win was the performance of the midfielders and the manager paid tributes to their efforts.
“Both of them were great today. There’s been days when Daniel Grehan has been amazing and there’s been days when Daniel Flynn has been outstanding. Both of them clicked today and both of them ran the show in the middle of the park.”
He was also pleased that his side put together their best 30 minutes of the year on the biggest stage.
“Certainly in the first-half we played really good football. In the first minute of the game they could have gotten a goal. We were a little bit slow to start there but after that once we got the ball up front we were very threatening.”
While the players and the management rightly get the credit for the performances on the field, Emmet McDonnell also took the opportunity to thank all those who had helped out.
“The support has been fantastic. A lot of sponsorship over the last couple of weeks from a number of people. I’m not going to name anyone though because I’d surely leave someone out but we’ve had fantastic support since we got through over Jarlath’s. Our principal Ms O’Neill is a fantastic leader and our deputy principal Mr Halford. They give the time to put into these teams and without that we wouldn’t be here today.