Long wait is over for Hawthorn supporters
JUST what hurling means to the people down around Ballacolla was clearly evidenced by the joyous celebrations in O’Moore Park on Sunday. How appropriate that Clough/Ballacolla should at last win the county title in the same year a memorial was erected to the team of 1914.
There was some pressure on the side to produce. In recent years the club has tasted success at underage and minor level and there was a feeling it was now or never.
There was also the knowledge that they owed one to Portlaoise who have so often in the past been their nemesis.
No one expressed this joy better than team captain Mick McEvoy.
“Words can’t describe the feeling at the minute. You can see on the faces of the people in the stand. It was a long wait.
“The hype around the village all week was unreal. Hurling is everything to the people around home.
Even if you weren’t directly involved in hurling it was impossible not to get caught up in it all. We’ll get a big party going now.
Despite the yearning for a senior title, preparations were distinctly restrained.
“We didn’t want to let the occasion get to us. We worked really, really hard and we wanted to just treat it like another game. We knew we’d have to come out at Portlaoise. They steamrolled us the past couple of years and we didn’t want that to happen again.
They came out to do that and we had to stop them and Mick Dunphy got us off to an absolute flyer with two great points and then Willie Hyland’s free was outstanding.
“They were always going to come back at us. They have some outstanding players but our backs were outstanding. But then all over the field the lads stood up to it. Even Danny (Hanlon) who had some criticism really had some game today.
“They came back at us, to six points, but we had been coasting so we had to knuckle down again and the lads did that and we saw it out.”
And as for the provincial campaign - “Leinster, ah well we’ll think about that next week.”
by Denis J Croke, Laois Nationalist