Like all good champions Garrycastle were never going to relinquish their crown too easily. The prospect of winning a four-in-a-row was a huge carrot for Paul Clancy’s side but ultimately Mullingar Shamrocks’ greater hunger and fitness was rewarded as they celebrated a famous one-point win.
This present bunch of Garrycastle players have known far more good days than bad ones and whatever the future holds for them their places in the history books is already secured. That won’t provide too much comfort for them this week as they look back on a one point defeat, having led 1-6 to 0-6 at the break. Yet if they were to lose to anyone they surely couldn’t begrudge Ray Smyth’s side their win.
Shamrocks have shown admirable resolve to keep coming back, having failed to beat the Castle in the four previous finals (two draws ). Persistence pays off and their greater zest and energy levels, which almost got them across the line in the drawn game, was enough to see them finally seal the deal this time around.
While Garrycastle failed to hold on to a nine-point lead in the drawn game and only mustered two points in the second half, last Sunday will surely haunt them. In truth their hectic schedule over the past few years finally caught up with them. However, that is not to say that they won’t be back. Next year the green and reds will undoubtedly lead the charge to knock the Springfield men off their perch.
This hard fought win was built on a solid, all-round team performance. Sean Daly put in a man of the match display for the victors weighing in with an impressive 0-5 including two memorable points in the closing stages. 2012 will forever be special for Kieran Gavin having captained DCU to Sigerson glory earlier in the year.
While Garrycastle players can take a well deserved break, Shamrocks’ attention has already switched to Dublin champions Ballymun Kickhams whom they welcome to Cusack Park on Sunday week. This will be a huge challenge for Ray Smyth’s men but no doubt he will have them well primed.