By Barry O’Donnell
ST JOSEPH’S manager Niall Kelly stated that his side took inspiration from the Tyrone senior team’s display last week, as the Donaghmore school clinched the All-Ireland ‘B’ crown in brilliant fashion in County Mayo on Saturday.
Two second half goals from Mattie McNally proved pivotal as St Joseph’s accounted for Abbey CBS of Tipperary 2-12 to 0-9 to add the Paddy Drummond Cup title to their earlier Ulster success in the MacLarnon Cup.
Speaking afterwards a delighted Kelly said that the boys pre-match homework involved watching the county seniors get the better of Kerry in the National League a week earlier.
“Our game plan was to be like a typical Tyrone team. We watched the county team last Sunday against Kerry, the heart they showed with their backs against the wall and the courage they showed when they conceded an early goal. We bought into that,” he said.
“We looked at Darren McCurry, him running back and turning people over. That’s exactly what Noah Grimes did today. They took inspiration from the Tyrone senior team and tried to replicate that today.”
Because of last Thursday’s inclement weather the match was switched from Mullingar to the Connacht GAA Centre in Bekan, but Kelly insisted that whatever the disruptions his squad remained focused on the task at hand.
“The conditions out there were really tough. There has been plenty of snow and rain over this past few days.
“We came today with one plan and to make no excuses. The ground was heavy and soggy.
“They are probably a more aggressive team than us. We played one touch football and tried to keep it wide.
“We had eight wides in the first half but we came good in the second half, thank God.”
It is less than twenty years since the first boys enrolled in the ‘Convent’ and Kelly was delighted to be part of this historic All-Ireland breakthrough, though keen to hand the praise to the players on the field.
“Our photo will now be on the wall in the school for this win but you have to mind the lads who entered for the first time 20 years ago and have created a tradition that we dreamed of. These boys have carried out that dream.
“I came into Donaghmore in 2018 and so this is great. But it is all about the players , I am only there to guide them.
“We got there in the end up that is the most important thing.We have got to take it to the top table now (MacRory Cup). That will be a problem for us come September, but we will worry about it then.”