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01 Dec 2021

Coolderry manager gutted at late heartbreak

Coolderry manager gutted at late heartbreak

Coolderry manager Brian Culbert.

There wasn’t much Brian Culbert could say. Like 3,000 other people, he could only stand and digest the dramatic late twist that completely changed the result of Sunday’s game in Tullamore, and with it the outcome of the 2021 Offaly Senior Hurling Championship. 

“I’ve no words for the finish” said the Coolderry manager. 

“You can never think you have it in the bag when you’re playing as good a team as St. Rynagh’s,” the Clare man reflected.

Culbert said that the nature of hurling is such that you’re never happy with any lead until the final whistle goes, but that for the majority of the contest, he was content with how his players had performed. 

“We started a bit slow. Was it nerves, I don’t know? But they gave everything and we were pushing on, only for the water break to come at the wrong time. I know the water breaks are up for discussion, but they worked in our favour for other games. 

“We had missed chances, and there were missed chances by them as well. The referee had a brilliant game letting it flow in winter conditions, the pitch is in great order, but there was a lot of stop-start hurling. Both sides missed chances, even for their goal we blocked the ball two or three times and they still kept coming and got the lucky break. You can’t plan for these things, you can’t defend against these things, they just happen for whatever reason.”

Having come through St. Rynagh’s whirlwind start, he felt the game was there for his charges at half-time. 

“We knew ourselves we hadn’t performed, we seemed to be waiting around and showing them a small bit too much respect. But at half-time we said this is it, this is our time to give it everything and see where it takes us, and we were just 60 seconds short of pulling it off,” he summarised.

And so ended a remarkable year for senior hurling in Coolderry, one in which they started the year as relative outsiders, before sending out a clear signal as to their potential with a senior league title. Culbert himself felt that every session with this group only served to further cement their credentials in his mind. 

“I had no doubts coming up here today, because of the group of fellas that is in that dressing room. I honestly thought that they had the stuff to do it, they’ve done everything that we’ve asked of them all year and to be honest, if there was ten more minutes in the game, with the fellas that are there, they’d have come again, that’s the type they are.

“And they’ll come again, this is the start of a new team hopefully, there’s a lot of young fellas on there playing their first county final, which is a big thing, so I think they’ll drive on.

“I honestly believe that we deserved to be here. As I said to the boys, they mightn’t necessarily be the best individual hurlers but they are the best team in the county. Man for man, I wouldn’t change them for anyone else.

“They did everything to get here and went above and beyond what other teams would have done to get here. There’s eight other teams in Offaly that would have done anything to get here, so we can’t take that away from them.”

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