Gailltír’s Emma Hannon-Roche is consoled after Sunday’s All-Ireland Final defeat in Croke Park. Photo: Noel Browne.
All-Ireland Club Intermediate Camogie Final Reaction – Paul Lyng
All the Yellas were grinning from ear to ear in the corridors under the Hogan Stand. Paula O’Hagan bounded in with her player of the match award in hand.
A few doors down, it was deathly quiet around the Gailltír dressing room. Selector Paul Lyng was philosophical about it all. “Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all,” is how he summed it up in the warm-up area.
He painted the scene inside. “It’s devastated, they’re after losing an All Ireland final in Croke Park. There’s tears, there’s hurt, there’s every feeling that we’d prefer not to have. Once you take to the pitch, that’s the risk you take. Sometimes you come off elated, today we’re coming off sad, beaten, sore and upset. That’s the way of it.”
Lyng says that they will offer the players all the support they need to get over this. “We’ve said to them hold your head up like champions. We’ll get back on the horse after a few days. We’ve asked them to express their hurt as well and not to bottle it up. It is tough in there. We wouldn’t like anybody feeling on their own with it. We all feel it. We’ll talk it out and by Wednesday or Thursday, we’ll move on again.”
It was only the second time in nine championship outings that Gailltír were held goalless. They created enough opportunities to earn a draw at least. “We had the goal chances, they didn’t have anywhere near as many. Aine’s penalty was saved, I thought we had four in the second half that went one side of the post or the other. It was just one of those days. Another day they go in and you’re winners. It’s very small margins.”
Lyng congratulated Clonduff on their victory. The Northerners acclimatised better to the wintry conditions. “They won a tough affair out there. It was very difficult. I don’t know how the players managed with the cold. I was on the sideline and my hands were absolutely perished. The ball was a bar of soap as well. I’m not making excuses for ourselves, it was the same for both teams. Fair play to all players today who tried to play a game of camogie.”
Lyng accepted that their opponents showed greater intensity during the first quarter. The giant scoreboard read 0-5 to 0-0 after eleven minutes. “They were keener, more eager, there was more bite about them in the tackle. We didn’t respond in the same way. They got their heads in front. The ship was rocking but we steadied it and finished the half very strongly. At half time, we felt we were in a good place.”
Gailltír top scorer Annie Fitzgerald wasn’t far off player of the match, challenging Paula O’Hagan and Sarah-Louise Carr on the Clonduff side for that accolade. “Annie was outstanding. Her skill level and her determination is wonderful. She’s a wonderful athlete.”
Despite the result, the long serving Lyng enjoyed every moment of the journey over the past 13 months. “It’s an absolute privilege to be engaged with young people like this, enjoying their sport, working hard, applying themselves and having a bit of fun. We won a few things. We’re still Munster champions, we’re still county champions and we’re still league champions in Waterford. A new season starts and we’ll go back and try and win those again. It’s been a privilege to be involved. Orla, Catherine and Gail are all just cracked about them and they’re an easy group to work with.”