Ardee St Marys Junior captain Wayne Matthews paid tribute to the quality of his team on Sunday evening, after leading his side to yet another success in the Louth GAA Junior 2A Championship.
The Marys secured their third Dan McEvoy Cup win in four years on Sunday afternoon as a second half goal from Cian Commins helped the Blues to a seven point win over St Fechins at Darver Centre of Excellence. Conor Gillespie, fresh from scoring 1-02 in last week’s Minor Championship win, managed the same tally again seven days on.
Matthews, captained the Ardee side on Sunday, having been involved in the previous two wins in 2014 and 2015. He started in the full back line in the first triumph over Geraldines and then was an unused substitute as the Marys overcame St Patrick’s 12 months later.
Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie immediately after lifting the cup, Matthews said he was delighted with reclaiming the silverware to end another year on a high, adding that it was quality – not quantity – that stood to the Marys in 2017.
“It’s great. We haven’t had the biggest panel compared to other years,” he said. “The minors rode in this year and the panel gained momentum as we went on. Performances built and belief built. The numbers in training were a bit slow at the start but it picked up throughout the year.
“But the numbers didn’t matter – the quality we had was top notch,” he continued. “Between youth and experience, lads that have been around the block and have played for the Marys for 10 or 15 years. It definitely helped us as it did in the previous four years.
While the Marys finished strongly on Saturday, Matthews felt it was important that his side respected their opponents going into Sunday’s clash.
“It was nip and tuck throughout the game. We weren’t taking them lightly. They beat the Gaels and the Gaels have a serious team. They put up massive scores throughout the year, they beat the Gers by a cricket score. We were watching their players and we weren’t taking them lightly,” he said.
“We planned and prepared – the pitch probably suited us – but it’s about digging deep. We knew what we had to do. The pedigree from past years stood to us.
“A lot of the panel has been training since January. We’ve put in a lot of hard work. It’s great to get silverware. It’s my first time as captain and it’s a great honour. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I started playing with the Marys 10 or 12 years ago. It’s my first time captaining a senior team, an adult team – it’s great.”