Banty: It’s the best feeling of my life

By Kieran Lynch

CORDUFF claimed the Monaghan Intermediate Football Championship crown in the most dramatic of fashions, with Keith McEnaney’s last-gasp goal seeing them defeat Magheracloone 2-4 to 0-9 in the decider.

Corduff are managed by former Monaghan boss Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney, who remarkably has two sons, John and Gavin, and six nephews on the squad.

He is also joined in his management team by his brother Pat, making Sunday’s championship win quite the family affair.

“With the emotions I had after the game, it was probably the best feeling I have ever had in my life,” reflected Banty.

“To manage my own club team, with two sons, and six nephews involved in the group, and Pat as part of the management team meant that there were 10 McEnaney’s involved.

“From a personal point of view it was special, but from a club’s point of view it was unbelievably special, because we had been fighting off relegation to Junior in the last two years. We only pulled these boys together about 10 months ago, and the transformation that they did themselves has been incredible.”

One thing which can’t be argued about Corduff is their refusal to quit. They seemed to be headed for defeat in the quarter-final against Sean McDermotts, the semi-final against Toome, and again on Sunday, but on each occasion, they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

“People may argue that we didn’t play great football in the last number of games,” conceded McEnaney.

“We were six points down in the quarter-final, six down in the semi-final, and were two down with three minutes gone in injury time in the final, but we still found a way to win all three games.

“If there is one thing in life that I love having in my dressing room, it’s a never say die attitude and our lads showed that in abundance.

“The grit and determination and attitude from the squad has been first class.”

Banty was very complimentary of beaten finalists Magheracloone, and he explained why getting a win over their local rivals is so special for the club.

“The whole community, the outpouring of emotion after the final whistle was incredible, I must say it was very gracious of Magheracloone to stay out on the pitch for 45 minutes before we could do the presentation, because the emotion of us winning in such fashion.

“Magheracloone are battle-hardened, and they had been a senior team for a very long time. We’re a much smaller parish; this will be only our second time ever playing senior football in the history of the club.

“Magheracloone have a brilliant team and are a brilliant club, and I believe that Sunday was Corduff’s first time beating Magheracloone in adult championship football.”

Corduff now go into an Ulster Preliminary round clash against Armagh champions Shane O’Neill’s, who remarkably won their county championship in the exact same circumstances, winning with a goal scored at the death.

That, however, is next week’s problem for Corduff, as their focus this week will no doubt be continuing to celebrate Sunday’s win.

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