DECLAN Dalton embellished his ever growing status with a wonderful display for Fr O’Neill’s as they lifted the PIHC title last Saturday night at Páirc Uí Rinn at the expense of Kilworth.
Afterwards their top-scorer believed that the bond and the unity in the team was a key to their success.
“We are a very close bunch, we all hang out together, go swimming after training, I think it’s that bond that makes us.
“Outside of sport we are with each other a lot, that always creates that bond and that got us over the line again tonight.
“We were only junior 14 years ago so this is a great achievement for the club, not just for the players tonight but for all the players who played over the past 20 years.
“The club has made fierce progress and, hopefully, now we can push it on and do well in the Munster club."
The young O’Neill’s star was impeccable in everything that he did and his range of skills in the scoring stakes were a joy to behold. He showed a flash of his class as a sub in Cork's victory over Limerick last May and will surely feature in Kieran Kingston's plans next spring.
“When I practise I try to practise to perfection. I give myself a target all the time and if I don’t hit it or miss a free I try to finish on a positive and get the next one.
“This means everything to us, to the people in Ladysbridge, Ballymacoda, Knockadoon, Garryvoe, our parish.
“When a parish like ours wins a county it is everything, everyone is here. They support all 30 of us, all the lads.
“They have always done that through the years, we have that great support from everyone."
For now, though, there won’t be much timer for celebrations, it’s back to the training ground with Imokilly as they seek the senior title next Sunday.
“Ya, we are looking forward to it, we have a strong panel of 40 players, we are facing a very good Glen team, we know that but we’ll be ready and, hopefully, we can get the result again."
Meanwhile, O’Neill’s club chairman Michael Hegarty praised everybody associated with the victory.
The greatest night in our history, unbelievable This team in every position on the field gave it their all and we are so proud of them.
“This is huge for the club, for everybody in it, our great supporters who have always been with us in good times and not so good.
“Our management put in a huge effort this year, this was our target and now we have achieved it.
“The U21 title last year was a major platform and we have been building towards this night for a while now.’’