By Shaun Casey
TO win an All-Ireland you need a certain amount of luck, and in most cases, you have to make your own. “When things are going your way, they’re going your way,” said Rodney Kerr, who guided his Brídíní Óga side to a first ever All-Ireland title last Saturday.
In the difficult conditions that January often provides, the Antrim girls needed all the help they could get, and some pre-game planning paid off. Brídíní Óga won the coin toss and opted to play into the stiff breeze in the opening half, a decision that proved a wise one.
“It was really, really tough conditions,” described Kerr. “The pitch was very heavy and then there was quite a strong breeze blowing which made it even more difficult. The scores just weren’t that easy found.
“When we were going in at half time, we were a point down and I knew we were in a good position at that stage – the scores were going to be easier to come by at the end we were going to be playing into in the second half.
“I was confident then at half time. We knew that we were going to be in a battle and Knockananna weren’t going to give up anything easy, but we were in a good position.
“We won the toss and I looked at the forecast and the breeze was to pick up slightly in that hour. Obviously, there’s nerves in an All-Ireland final as well so I was thinking we’d be better with the breeze behind us when things aren’t as nervy.”
Fortune has followed this team all season. The day before their semi-final showdown with Adare, the captain Kirsty Laverty and a number of other players were due to attend a family wedding. A weekend of horrible weather saw the game postponed and that was hugely significant for Kerr and his team.
“The cancellation of the Adare game was massive for us. I think the fact that that game got cancelled, and we happened to just scrape past Adare, it took everything we had, I just don’t think we’d have been properly prepared if the game had gone ahead.
“The Ulster final was moved as well and we had a key player in hospital, Erin Coulter, so fixtures being moved through no fault of our own, definitely played into our hands.
“I don’t think we trained in the rain up until last Tuesday night, that was the first time we got rained on at training all year. When things are going your way, they’re going your way. If you’re training the whole way through the winter to January and still haven’t got a soaking, someone is looking down on you.”
The celebrations are still ongoing around Glenravel and the homecoming will live long in the memory, for young and old. “The homecoming was fantastic.
“We had the all the children lined up on both sides of the hallway up the stairs, with the youngest at the start and the oldest at the back. It was just a lovely walk up through up into the clubrooms.
“There were plenty of videos and stuff as well of everything. It was all well organised, obviously it was nothing to do with ourselves, we didn’t know what was happening. The crowd didn’t let us down during the match or when we got back up home.”