Mulry laments missed opportunity

AIB Connacht Club Intermediate Hurling Championship Final: Abbeyknockmoy 1-11 Four Roads 0-11

There have been a number of ‘honourable defeats’ for Roscommon club hurling teams over the years in the Connacht championship against Galway opposition, but this wasn’t one.

  In fact, when the Four Roads players, team management and supporters reflect on this final, they will know that not only is it a game that they could have won, it is a game that they should have won.

  At the final whistle, devastated Four Roads manager Micheal Mulry knew that his side had missed a great chance of a famous win.

  “We are desperately disappointed, I thought that we might pull it out of the fire there towards the end but they got a run on us earlier and we missed a few vital chances in the second half. We matched them all the way and we played well overall.

  “I don’t think this team get the credit they deserve in Roscommon, to be honest. It’s not easy to get to this stage and it’s such a pity that we didn’t win, but I couldn’t ask any more of our lads today, I’m really proud of them.”

  The Roscommon champions played with great determination and fire in their bellies but they will be the first to admit that they missed a number of chances in the second half when they had the Galway champions on the rack.

  The Four Roads defence was magnificent but the attack only operated in fits and starts and it cost them dearly.

  The Roscommon men had no luck on the day either as the only goal of the game, which came in the 21st minute – scored by Danny Mullins – should have been disallowed as the attacker was in the square a long time before the ball arrived. (He also looked to have impeded the Four Roads goalkeeper, Noel Fallon).

   Four Roads will probably have further chances of Connacht glory in the years to come but they will know that this was a great chance to repeat their historic win over the same opposition in the Connacht final in 1988.

  Mark McLoughlin, Shane Curley, Conor Coyle, Johnny Moran, Davy Dolan and Johnny Coyne all played well for Four Roads on the day, and once again Micheál Kelly was particularly inspirational.

  Time after time he burst out of defence with the ball and he was superb from the very first minute. He scored four magnificent points (three from play) and was the best player on the field by a country mile. What a pity he wasn’t on the winning side.

   The Galway men had super performers in Galway senior panellist Paul Flaherty, Caelom Mulry, Damien Rooney and Danny Mullins. I would say that they were mightily relieved heading back home on Saturday evening with the cup.

  Abbeyknockmoy joint manager Ger Farragher said that his team were very relieved to have won a tight game.

  “We knew coming down here that this was going to be a dogfight but we hung in to the end. It wasn’t pretty at times, but a win is a win.

  The goal was the difference between the teams in the end and it was a lucky break for us and that’s the way it goes.

  We are thrilled to win our first Connacht title here today and it brings back a lot of great memories for our club. Hopefully we can kick on from here” he said. It has been another remarkable year for Four Roads who improved in every game they played from the county semi-final onwards.

  Another county title was won without too much fuss but as the dust settles on another hurling year this game will be remembered as the one that got away.