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Meath boss: 'You’re probably good enough to win three or four in-a-row but we won't'

The Royals were crowned back-to-back All-Ireland senior ladies football champions today.

Eamonn Murray celebrates at the final whistle.
Eamonn Murray celebrates at the final whistle.
Image: Tom Maher/INPHO

EAMONN MURRAY HAILED his “very special bunch” after Meath were crowned back-to-back All-Ireland senior ladies football champions this evening.

The Royals ran out 3-10 to 1-7 winners over Kerry in front of a crowd of 46,400 fans at Croke Park, admittedly the “perfect” send-off for departing duo Vikki Wall and Orlagh Lally, who are both AFLW-bound.

“That’s why it is a bit emotional for us all,” Murray conceded after nine-point victory. “It won’t be easy.

“Losing players and stuff, you’re probably good enough to win three or four in-a-row but we won’t, but we’ll worry about that next week.”

Asked if it feels like a changing of the guard with rumours swirling over backroom team changes on top of player departures, Murray noted:

“I won’t worry about that, they have two All-Irelands in their pocket. They will go with pride and their head up, and we wish them luck. And we look forward to them coming back, and they will be back. I know they will.”

“They are a very special bunch,” the Boardsmill clubman reflected. “And it takes a very special bunch to go two-in-a row. We started the year quietly, won the league without playing well.

“We were getting better and better in the championship but we kept the best ‘til last today. And it’s good they gave us a handy day out today and not have us sweating at the end.”

Cavan native Murray previously spoke about the team timing their run “to perfection,” and he reiterated that sentiment in the bowels of the Hogan Stand this evening after goals from Emma Troy, Niamh O’Sullivan and Bridgetta Lynch proved the difference. 

“We knew that, we weren’t that worried during the week. It’s strange times to be a Meath football manager, it can only help the future. Look at that crowd we had today, by God, it’s worthwhile doing it for them alone. You’d have to win it for them, that lift they gave us. We probably had as many supporters as the other five teams put together!

“I think we showed Kerry and a few other teams that it can be done. And Kerry probably thought during the week that they know all about our system and how we play. Dublin thought the same last year but when you hit this system, you know all about it. Kerry haven’t been held to 1-7 or 1-8 for a long long time, we got the goals that’s our highest score in a long, long time.”

The Kingdom, guided to their first final since 2012 by Declan Quill and Darragh Long, enjoyed the dream start at HQ, hitting 1-2 without reply before Meath got up and running in the ninth minute.

The slow start didn’t concern Murray, whose side went on to score the next 1-6 and move into ascension.

1-8 to 1-5 up at half time, they held Kerry scoreless from the 35th minute onwards.

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“You’d never be worried with this bunch and I mean that not for a second,” Murray smiled.

“It was a cracking goal from Louise [Ní Mhuircheartagh] but after that we closed up shop and were very good after that. We did miss a fair few and dropped a lot short as well.

“The response was brilliant, three different players scoring goals. Bridgetta came off the bench and she was magic, played the best game of her life. Orla Byrne came on, all our subs did very well.

“We were told during the week we didn’t have subs but I think we proved today we have.”

BTL 5

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