Knocking on heaven's door... Duhallow side are the toast of Cork after ending the Kerry hoodoo

Knocking on heaven's door... Duhallow side are the toast of Cork after ending the Kerry hoodoo
Knocknagree captain Matthew Dilworth holding the trophy aloft. Picture: Dan Linehan

NO one can question that Knocknagree have hit the heights in recent years in their division but in Mallow last weekend, the Duhallow side took that to a whole new level.

Winning the Munster Junior Football title in front of a huge partisan crowd is as good as it gets from this small, rural, Cork club and right at the heart of all that success is their manager John Fintan Daly. 

It was a landmark result too, as Kerry sides have dominated at this level for some time, with Cork's last success coming back in 2007 through Canovee, while Carbery Rangers were the last team to beat a Kerry on in the Munster junior final. And that was in 2003.

Fintan Daly has been around the GAA scene in the area for many years now and has spearheaded the Knocknagree challenge for a number of years – culminating in Sunday’s heroics.

“I am thrilled. It is just a great day for us. Our little club has managed to win a Munster title and we couldn’t be happier right now.

“We made life very difficult for ourselves conceding two sloppy goals early in the game and when you are chasing the game and conceding goals it is very difficult to close that gap. 

"All week we were being told that we were the better footballing side and if it became a dogfight we would be in trouble as this Dromid team are like the dogs of war. I know what they were like for years as I spent a long time in Miltown Castlemaine but today we were up for the fight.

“I think we led for the first time in extra time but got the goal at the right time and we showed huge resilience and if Cork football showed more of that more often we would all be better off."

Fintan Daly believe there is plenty of people to be thanked after a success like this with his backroom team front and centre.

“When you win the manager usually gets the praise but this is a real team effort. All 32 players, the backroom team and especially coach John Horgan who has been hugely important in this win. 

"I am also very proud of my family, my club, my division Duhallow and my county and we are so privileged to represent our county. It is probably the only chance we will get to do that so we will try to make the most of it. We will now go into the All Ireland series and do our best to represent the province of Munster as well as the county and Knocknagree."

Fintan Daly was, as always, looking to the future and past his side’s emotional triumph to see the bigger picture for Cork football.

“I believe this is the first time since these club championships began that Cork has won two of the three football honours in Munster in the same year so I think that deserves special mention after Nemo’s massive win last weekend and now this win for Knocknagree."

Fintan Daly will lead his side into battle at least one more time in 2018 and who knows, perhaps the ultimate fixture awaits.

Knocknagree coach John Fintan Daly with John Horgan and Billy O’Neill. Picture: Dan Linehan
Knocknagree coach John Fintan Daly with John Horgan and Billy O’Neill. Picture: Dan Linehan

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