DONAGH Duane may only be finished hurling himself but as manager he has already been able to secure his side a spot in an All-Ireland final at Croke Park.
Last Saturday his all-conquering hometown club took the penultimate step as they booked their place in the Intermediate club final seeing off Middletown Na Fianna of Armagh by all of 10 points at Newbridge.
“I was delighted with the way our fellas approached the game – very professionally,” the manager said.
"It is hard to prepare for a game like this when you are unaware of the opposition but we knew they had the experience of winning an All-Ireland semi-final and that they had been to Croke Park and we knew they would be hungry but our fellas knew their job from the word go and that clearly paid off with a great start.
“From the word go we had a tactic to run at them and that worked almost straight away with our first goal. That really settled us down early and that was obviously a real advantage going forward.
“The early goals gave us that cushion all the way through the game and it didn’t seem to matter to the players what the board said they just kept plugging away and driving it on."
Despite being nine points up at the break Duane was taking nothing for granted after some earlier scares in the championship.
“We have experienced games before where we were up eight points and were brought back to level so we when that the job was far from done at halftime.
“We instilled in the players at half-time about the work-rate, blocking hooking and all that and I thought all that was really good today. Not too many wides either which was another plus for us and other than a few small knocks we seem have come through ok.”
Although the game was just secured the manager’s mind had already began focusing on next week as the short turnaround wasn’t leaving any time to celebrate Saturday’s achievements.
“The town and the players will be buzzing now and rightfully so. We will head to training and work hard again. We know it will be difficult but that’s what you have to expect going into an All-Ireland final.
"We did well last year playing weekend after weekend so I am sure that getting up again for next weekend will not be a problem for all concerned."
Duane will lead his Kanturk side to headquarters next Sunday knowing that he and his band of Duhallow stars are just 60-odd minutes away from achieving what some of the greatest hurlers that ever lived failed to do – take home an All-Ireland club winners medal.