'It’s amazing for the whole parish that's here today' - first All-Ireland crown for Galway champs

Kilkerrin-Clonberne lifted the Dolores Tyrrell Memorial Cup and ended Mourneabbey’s bid for three-in-a-row.

kilkerrin-clonberne-players-celebrate-after-the-game Kilkerrin-Clonberne players celebrate at the final whistle. Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

THE EMOTION ON show at the final whistle said it all; St Brendan’s Park erupting as Kilkerrin-Clonberne were crowned All-Ireland senior club champions for the first time.

Amidst the madness and the heartwarming celebratory scenes, one moment stood out.

Willie Ward and his daughter, Louise, shared a warm embrace, as manager and captain were reunited after the 1-11 to 1-7 win over back-to-back champions Mourneabbey.

Ward’s other daughter, Nicola, also played a central role.

This was a deserved victory for the long-time Galway and Connacht champions, Ward noting afterwards that once his side were able to negotiate the Mourneabbey challenge early, they were well on their way to a maiden crown.

Having suffered late heartbreak in the 2019 final meeting of the sides, Kilkerrin-Clonberne made amends this time around with Chloe Miskell’s goal and 0-5 from Player of the Match Olivia Divilly key at the finish.

“It’s absolutely brilliant, it’s amazing for the whole parish that’s here today, everyone came out to support us,” Willie Ward beamed afterwards.

“The confidence of the team grew towards the end. They were quite comfortable keeping the ball, comfortable on the ball. We knew exactly what we needed to do.

“You’d expect us to be nervous. We were all a bit tense. We were relaxed enough last night and they arrived this morning in good form but the initial few minutes of the game was going to be a bit edgy.

“I knew we were beginning to settle into it and I felt that nerves weren’t going to be a factor after we got five minutes over.”

Divilly also gave a brilliant interview to TG4 afterwards:

It was a difficult day for Mourneabbey as their three-in-a-row dream came crashing down.

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While magnanimous in defeat, manager Shane Ronayne admitted afterwards that the Cork and Munster heavyweights never really got going in Birr. The fact that it took the Clyda outfit 50 minutes to score from play tells a story in itself.

“They’re heartbroken, very disappointed in themselves,” Ronayne, who is also the new Rebels’ boss, said.

“They didn’t perform and that’s not any way disrespectful to Kilkerrin-Clonberne, they had a great game plan, they executed it, we didn’t execute what we were meant to do.

“And we didn’t score from play until the ninth minute from the end. I didn’t realise that until someone pointed it out to me. That’s not us.

“We missed a chance in the first minute, if that goes over the bar, maybe it changes the momentum of the game.”

- Additional reporting by Darren Kelly for the LGFA.


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