O’Kane hails squad as Dunloy bandwagon rolls on

Chrissy McMahon’s late goal sealed victory and a fourth title in succession, repeating the record of O’Kane’s team in 2003 when his late point clinched their four-in-a-row.

It’s the 16th time the Volunteer Cup made its way back to Dunloy with their new team beginning to come of age.

“You can’t experience a battle until you are in it and come through the other side. I can’t train that, you can’t recreate that,” said the Dunloy boss of Sunday’s 1-20 to 2-11 win.

“You’d have to say this team have really grew up together. They are really kicking on and we managed to get enough scores to get over the line,” told The Saffron Gael.

They had to bounce back after conceding a goal in the first minute with a second goal asking questions of their favourites’ tag.

O’Kane felt the game threatened to escape from their grasp until a half-time reshuffle helped them regroup for the second half.

“We had our backs to the wall and bodies on the line,” he said. “We needed to get our structure back, We had lost our threat and, to be fair to Cushendall, they had pulled out this way and we had no threat close to goals.”

Seaan Elliott’s role was to occupy Cushendall centre back Eoghan Campbell, with Conal Cunning and Chrissy McMahon helping get a better shape to their attack.

It changed their approach, with Dunloy’s defence and their distribution helping swing the momentum.

With width in their attack, it allowed pace and runners to ask questions of the ‘Dall as they began to pull clear.

“Eventually we got one on one and Christy McMahon’s finish was outstanding and Coby’s (Conal Cunning) freetaking was out of this world,” O’Kane enthused.

Talisman Paul Shiels had been troubled with an injury all during the season and with the third quarter coming to a close, there was the fear he’d ran his last step before the message came back to the line that he was still good to go.

“Where does that come from,” O’Kane asked of Shiels’ desire to continually go to the well.

While Dunloy has been party central in the days since Sunday, the story is only half written with a tenth title since their 2009 Ulster Championship win the next target.

Dunloy face the winners of the semi-final between Portaferry and reigning champions Sleacht Néill in the final in early December.

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