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25 Jan 2022

Mark Dunne extremely proud and thrilled for St Rynagh's players

Mark Dunne extremely proud and thrilled for St Rynagh's players

St Rynagh's players celebrate after the final whistle blew in the All-Ireland intermediate camogie final.

"TODAY is amazing. We are bringing an All-Ireland title back to Rynagh's, back to Offaly, and I thought they just represented their club and their county extremely well today," St Rynagh's manager Mark Dunne said after his side defeated Gailltir by four points in the All-Ireland final on Saturday last.
He said he was extremely proud of the St Rynagh's players but added he was just as proud, if not prouder, of the way they handled the defeat to the same opposition in the 2019 final.
The manager said he was thrilled for the players after all the effort they put in over the last couple of years and was delighted that they had finally got their rewards on the day.
"It's very had to put into words when the final whistle goes in these big games," he said. "It was a lot of emotion for everyone because of what they have gone through. I know every team says it, but losing an All-Ireland final to a last minute goal, this competition being off and being on after training through winter, we came here and we had to absolutely battle it out but I'm thrilled for them, extremely proud of them. But I was as proud, if not prouder, the day we lost, the way we handled that, the way we kept our values, we stood and watched the presentation and we admitted the best team won and we probably started our recovery from that day to be honest. I think when you are used to winning and you don't know how you'll react when you lose, that is a sign of the bunch of girls that they really are and I think we just kicked on from there."
It was a hard fought battle all the way and Gailltir battled all the way to try and hold on to their title. "When we got the goal we definitely didn't push on and capitalise on it they way we could but at the same time, there was stalemate there for a while where no one did," the manager said. "They got a point and we got it back to three again, and they weren't eating into the lead and we weren't pushing on and I think when the goal came we just tried to protect it too much rather than keep going. There was probably of phase of that for maybe about 10 minutes before we got a bit of shape back into our forward line, we got a bit of structure back and we were able to get back up the field. At the end it was just a case of being patient and making sure we kept options in the forward line and once we did that we were able to get those couple of scores at the end."
In the 2019 final St Rynagh's also held a narrow lead late in the game when Gailltir struck for what proved to be the winning goal. For much of the last 10 minutes St Rynagh's were defending a narrow lead again, so were memories of the 2019 final flashing through his mind?
"It's like this, Gailltir were never going to stop and they are capable of getting scores, so it was not so much a case of nightmares about the last goal but it was just a case of it doesn't matter who you are playing, there were only two or three points in it and until the final whistle goes it's not safe," he stated.
St Rynagh's played against the wind in the first half and were level at half time, so what was the feeling in the dressing room at that stage?
"We were happy with some stuff but we wouldn't have been overhappy with other stuff. Our delivery inside, maybe we were hitting 50-50 balls rather than targetting space. If you told me at the start when we knew we were against the wind that we would be 0-6 each at half time I probably would have taken it, but probably going in at half time the way we controlled a lot of the game after the first few minutes, I probably would have been disappointed that we weren't ahead but we still knew we were in a good place, but knew the wind wasn't going to win it for us either. To really get the benefits of the wind after the goal we probably needed to get out to four or five points. They would have had to commit to go after us but they were able to stay patient and keep their shape and we never really got to open them up."
Gailltir really tested St Rynagh's in the closing stages as they went in search of a goal to rescue the game but the St Rynagh's defence stood firm and kept them out.
"They were immense and it is something we have done a lot of work on, our bravery and our intelligence in our tackling, the structured attacking," Mark said. "It's easy work on it but in the last minute of an All-Ireland final when people are running at you and the balls are coming, it's how you deal with it. I thought they were composed and I thought Ellen in goals the last ball, she came out with it, what a sign of maturity. She wasn't called into action much and that's a very hard position for a goalie to be in and I just think it shows the maturity of Ellen but in general the team in the last couple of years. It wasn't the prettiest game in the world, I think watching back on it we'll go we were poor at this, we were poor at that, but I suppose the conditions didn't help."
The defence also proved to be the launching pad for many of the St Rynagh's attacks. "The wing backs were excellent. They turned over a lot of ball, moved forward at pace, I know we got pulled for steps a couple of times, but that was the starting point for our attacks, the half back line. Obviously we needed to run the ball against the wind, we knew we weren't going to get it inside."
He also paid tribute to the subs who came in, pointing out that they had no performance issues with any of their team. "It's unusual in a game where everyone is performing well, but it was just a case of getting fresh legs in," he said.

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