Ardee St Marys Minor manager Tommy Kirk paid tribute to his panel of players after their 23 point Minor Football Championship win over the Geraldines on Sunday afternoon, telling ThisIsArdee.ie that his squad have the hunger required to win major trophies.
Yesterday’s memorable win ended 30 years of pain and longing for the Marys, ending the long quest for Minor success. The victory also marks the first time the club have won the club as a standalone entity and not part of a Minors amalgamtion. Jonathan Commins, who hit a stunning 2-13 in the final, starred as did the likes of Conor Gillepsie and midfielders Conor Hennessy and Liam Jackson.
Kirk said his 31 strong panel of players were fully deserving of their success and he was delighted at the margin of victory. “They’re a great bunch of lads to work with. They’re very committed. They have a great attitude to their game and to their training, their diets – everything is right with these fellas. That’s why they went out there today and blitzed that team off the field.”
The manager, pictured above with selectors Dermot Gillespie and Mark Rooney, also said that the coaches had to hammer home the message during the week – especially to those players involved in last week’s disappointing Under 16 final loss – that no one wanted ot suffer the same fate again.
“It was hard,” he remarked. “We kept emphasising that – ‘Did we want to see the scenes from last week?’ – at training during the week. It was ‘No’ the whole time. They never wanted to see that again. You’d know they were hungry going out there today.
“They’re hungry for football, their hungry to win Championships and they want to win leagues,” he continued. “And now they’re talking about Leinsters!” A league and Championship double remains on the cards and it’s a very real possibility. The Blues sit top of Minor Division 1 with five wins from five. They have two games left to play, and Geraldines will play host to the Marys again this Friday.
“We wanted to win this one – this is the big one. This is the one we’ve waited a long time for. The Championship is the one every wants to win but you’d take a second prize as well. The league as well – anything we can get, we’ll take.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. To wait 30 years for this, it’s well worth the wait. I suppose we shouldn’t be waiting 30 years, we should have more. It’s history – we never won one under our own St Marys badge so it’s nice to win that. It could be history all round,” Kirk continued. “The boys were fantastic. There’s no doubt about it. Attitude, committment, they have it all.”
Commenting on Commins’ virtuoso performace on Sunday, his manager was effusive with praise. “This guy is an exceptional footballer and an exceptional athlete. He’s super. He scored 2-13 today and that’s something else from a 16 year old.” Ominously for other sides at this level, he still has two years at minor to come.