THE UCC management team were able to reflect on a job well done on Saturday afternoon.
A magnificent Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup campaign had culminated with outright glory and a convincing 2-21 to 0-13 victory over Mary I.
Headed up by Tom Kingston, there was also much praise for the input of Wesley O’Brien, Ger Cunningham, Ray Delaney and Peter Coady. Not to mention, the medical and logistical staff and GAA Development Officer John Grainger.
Former county goalkeeper Cunningham, who is coach to the victorious team, was delighted for everybody involved
“Sometimes in finals, it doesn’t always go to plan. It is great for the lads to show how good players that they are. And how good a team they are. They bonded very well, they gelled very well. We knew if we could get a performance out of these guys, they were good enough to win it out.”
Despite being drawn in a particularly tough group when their opponents were made known last December, the team remained firmly focused. UL were first up away from home, and once that result was secured against the titleholders, they got the better of UCD and NUIG. The victory over the Galway outfit ensured a home quarter-final.
“We have come through the group of death. We came through a very tough quarter-final, and then DCU down here in WIT. Somebody said, maybe our name was on the cup after that semi-final win over DCU.
"But again, you have to go out and do it. I am so thrilled for everybody.
"A lot of hard work went on behind the scenes with these guys. They have been a pleasure to work with. They all come from different clubs and different counties.”
The St Finbarr’s man commended the entire squad, highlighting the effort put in by all players, whether they were on the starting 15 or fighting for their place from the bench. Nobody was found wanting.
“Defensively, we have been very solid. There haven’t been too many goals scored against us in the whole competition. They have all been brilliant. Their attitude top-class.
"Unsung heroes – like Eddie Gunning who will never miss a training session. And even some of the subs there – Luke Hackett, these guys, they never miss a session either. They always turn up. I am just so thrilled for them all.”
He had special mention for Grainger, citing UCC’s notable accomplishment this year to be able to secure the highest honour in both hurling and football as significant. Billy Morgan’s troops went to O’Moore Park on Wednesday night and returned with the first part of the assignment completed.
"It is a great achievement for John Grainger to win the Sigerson and the Fitzgibbon. They won the Collingwood as well (soccer).”