DUNLOY manager Gregory O’Kane was full of pride in his team and club after Sunday’s All-Ireland defeat at the hands of Ballyhale Shamrocks who clinched a ninth title.
The 1-22 to 1-15 scoreline was harsh on Dunloy for what they brought to the game, especially in the second half.
Ballyhale were thriving in the spaces before half time, but the Antrim and Ulster champions tightened up their defence and upped the ante all over the pitch.
With minutes remaining they had it down to a single point before Ballyhale pulled away with a burst of points
O’Kane, who has been involved – as a player or manager – in all of the club’s championship successes, was confident he’d get a performance.
“We had three or four chances that dropped into the goalkeeper’s hand and against a team like Ballyhale, once you get on top, you’ve got to take them… that was the difference,” he told Off the Ball.
It was a different story early on. Keelan Molloy’s diagonal ball to Conal Cunning opened the gaps. Ronan Molloy came through, took possession before drilling under Dean Mason. It was like something off the training ground.
“We create goals, so we are going to get goals. We weren’t surprised,” O’Kane added. “We came down to perform to our ability and that’s what we did.
The Dunloy boss hailed the quality of Ballyhale’s players, with TJ Reid head of the list and felt his full back Ryan McGarry did well on Colin Fennelly.
“Ballyhale have the knowhow, the experience and the craft you need to win An All-Ireland club title, it speaks for itself.”
O’Kane was full of praise for his own team that completed four-in-a-row in Antrim and overcame Sleacht Néill in Ulster.
“We’ve had an unbelievable year with the club and it is all about families. We are delighted to be involved and Dunloy is an unbelievable club. We are very proud of what we have and days like this are special.
“I was lucky to play with great players. Hurling has always been good to me. Once you come out of our career, you want to give something back.
“There are a lot of young players in the changing room and you want to create a platform for them to get the best out of their careers. All I am doing is passing on what was handed down to me.”