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'I wanted him to go for it. He's the man, he's got the skills' - The Tipperary final scoring hero

Kiladangan manager Bryan Lawlor hailed his team after their dramatic Tipperary final success.

Bryan McLoughney and Matthew Cleary celebrate after Kiladangan's Tipperary senior title win.
Bryan McLoughney and Matthew Cleary celebrate after Kiladangan's Tipperary senior title win.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

BRIAN LAWLOR ALLOWED no room for doubt to creep into his mind.

The Kiladangan manager watched on as Barry Hogan boomed out a long puckout, his team one point down as the final whistle beckoned in the Tipperary senior final yesterday, defeat set to visit them in a decider again as they sought a title breakthrough.

And then a chance presented itself to Bryan McLoughney, the young forward who had endured a game of fluctuating fortunes. Started, brought off in the 44th minute and then reintroduced in the 74th minute.

The simple option was to tap over a point and take a chance on the penalty shootout. But Lawlor backed the ambition his player displayed.

I wanted him to go for it. Things hadn’t gone our way, any long delivery we gave in we got no joy out of it. But the one ball we gave Joe a chance to catch and he nails it. I knew once he dropped the shoulder and gave the ball ahead of Bryan McLoughney.

“I’ve seen him since he was nine years of age, if you want someone to execute, he’s the man. He’s got the skills. Three shots at the end of the match, 1-2, that’s the measure. Disappointed to be taken off but his attitude was so good when he came on.

“These guys have put in a huge effort. Now we wouldn’t be happy with a lot of stuff. In the second half of normal time and extra-time, I thought our use of the ball was very poor. We were going route one and we were just playing down the throat of John Meagher and he had an outstanding game. I’d say he was definitely man of the match. But that’s just the way it goes. I don’t care how we played, I don’t care how many mistakes we made, we have the cup now. Listen we just wish Loughmore the best next week. We do know how they’re feeling because we were there last year.” 

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brian-lawlor Kiladangan manager Brian Lawlor. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Lawlor tried to compute all that had occurred in the whirlwind finale. Moments before that McLoughney goal, John McGrath looked to have floated over the winning point from a ’65. Prior to that the Kiladangan sideline was scrambling to get prepared for the propect of penalties.

“We thought we were heading for penalties, we were looking to get Darragh Egan onto the field to take one. So this was all going on. He’d a penalty shootout with the second team (a few weeks ago). Contrary to the rules, we thought that he could play as the sub keeper and take a penalty but we were just told at the last minute he needed to be on the field. So we were actually in the process of  bringing off an outfielder to get Egan on. 

“Next thing the ’65, we were devastated about giving it away. This is the irony of sport, conceding that ’65 probably won the game for us. We had to go for it and look what happened. The age old adage in sport, it’s not over to the final whistle.”

Success arrived at the close for a testing season that has presented vastly changed circumstances for teams to operate in.

“If you actually look at it, it is the fairest competition that has ever been won at club level for a couple of reasons. All clubs had access to all their county players which is unheard of. The matches are played in the best time of year on the best pitches, which is fantastic. The other thing is there was nobody lost to J1s, nobody lost to emigration. No one went travelling. Everyone was around. It’s the one year that everybody had their full pick and we’re delighted to win such a prestigious championship as this one.”

willie-connors-david-sweeney-and-tadhg-gallagher-celebrate Kiladangan players celebrate their success. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

And when Kiladangan reached the Tipperary hurling summit for the first time, they were grateful for the presence of some of their most loyal supporters to share that joyous moment with.

“To just get that 100 people in the stadium and the way the club did it, it was definitely our best supporters were here. To avoid any kind of rows, they gave all the tickets to the players which is the best way to do it. So anybody that’s here is directly connected to a player. Everybody that I can see here has been soldiering watching Kiladangan for years and years.

“It’s phenomenal and it’s just credit to a huge amount of work done by so many people over the last 25 years. That’s bringing through the likes of the guys that hurled out there. It’s a lesson to any club. Non runners at junior A to senior winners in 25 years.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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