Rice College manager Shane Conway was not looking for any excuses in the aftermath of the Westport school’s one point defeat against St. Ronan’s of Lurgan on Saturday afternoon.
The Armagh side came out on top of a ding-dong tight battle in the Hogan Cup final on a scoreline of 1-10 to 1-9 and Conway was full of praise for his sides conquerors.
Speaking to The Mayo Advertiser in the immediate aftermath at Croke Park, Conway said St. Ronan’s showed their battling qualities; “All credit to St. Ronan’s. They made a habit out of winning tight games in the games they won. Three of their games, including this one, were won by a point and maybe two others by two points so they’ve proven that they are deserving champions. They win tight games.”
The Westport school had a number of opportunities in the lead up to, and during, injury time on Saturday but the ball would not fall between the posts.
However, Conway could not fault his side for their effort towards the end; “Always the team that are chasing find it hard to get that score to level it. You’re disappointed with losing but you’re not disappointed with any one reason or anything that happened out there on the pitch. All I’ll say is that these guys gave it everything. They are a credit to the school and they were deserving of anything that would have come to them today.”
He continued, “To stay in the game is what the plan was, not to be too open or anything like that and at times we probably didn’t look as good in attack. Lookit, it was always a one or two point game all the way through and unfortunately it just fell against us at the end.”
Most of those who lined out for Rice College on Saturday afternoon would have done so for the final time and Conway believes each and every one of them has left a legacy in the school for others to follow; “They’ve represented Rice College as well as any young group could do. I’m so proud and I’ve told them that it’s the best year of my footballing life in Rice College. It’s a shame that it didn’t happen today but they can always stand tall and they are the future. When someone else comes into Rice College they’ll be looking at their photos from now on.”