Sars Boss "Delighted With A Job Well Done"
By Staff Reporter
By John Guiton
The best part of an hour had passed after last
Sunday’s county senior hurling final and, with the clocks gone back,
Semple Stadium was almost in darkness. Sarsfields Manager Michael
‘Glossy’ Gleeson sat alone in the victorious dressingroom savouring
the moment as he glanced across at the Dan Breen Cup. For well over half an
hour Blues supporters had showered congratultory pats on Michael, his backroom
team, and players, as they departed the pitch, after their captain and one of
their stars of the day, Patrick McCormack, had taken the Cup back to the
traditional stronghold. Now it was time for the team boss and his charges to
reflect on the proud part they had played in the history of one of the most
successful hurling clubs since the foundation of the GAA. Sunday’s title
was No. 31 for Sars and what made it particularly sweet was the fact that it
was the first two-in-a-row for the club since 1965 (part of a great era for the
hurling bastion). Michael, coach Paddy McCormack and selector Johnny Burke had
guided the side to the 2009 title and were joined this season in their very
successful campaign to retain the crown by another club stalwart Tom Barry.
The feeling of satisfaction in the dressingroom was almost
tangible and Michael said he was “truly delighted with a job well done by
the players.” He said it wasn’t easy for the team going into their
second final on the trot as raging favourites. All the pressure was on them,
but, they focussed at all times on their own game and were never distracted.
“Every championship match we played in this year we were made favourites
on the basis of we being county champions. We had to deal with that as best we
could, and we certainly were not going to underestimate Clonoulty. Sars played
Clonoulty in 2008 and we almost lost the first game, and it took us until extra
time to get past them in the replay. We expected a tough battle here today and
we got one. I’m just delighted with the way the lads stood up to the
challenge and the hard work and commitment of the starting fifteen and the subs
we brought in gave us immense satisfaction” he said.
Michael placed great emphasis on the work ethic of the team.
“We got a great start by going six points up before Clonoulty had scored,
but, then as happened us in a couple of matches this year we failed to press
on, and, we had it all to do at the halfway stage when we led by just two
points (0-9 to 1-4). But in fairness to the lads they took back control of the
game after the break, and they really worked hard to take over again. This was
a team effort, players working hard in their own positions and supporting each
other very well,” added the former club star. He said that he was still
concerned that Clonoulty would make a comeback until Lar Corbett’s goal gave
his side a big nine point advantage.
“ It was a great goal and we certainly drove on from
there” said Michael.
Praising his fellow selectors, and all the backroom staff
for their hard work behind the scenes over a long season that saw them beat big
guns Drom-Inch, Loughmore and Toomevara, Michael expressed delight that the
team had carved out an historic chapter in the club’s annals by putting
titles back to back. “ Look, there is a great feeling here now and we
will enjoy the celebrations. But, we will then turn our attentions to the
Munster campaign (v Kilmallock on Sunday November 14th at a Limerick venue) and
we will give it our best shot. Our players want to continue being successful,
this team dont like losing and they give every game one hundred per cent.”
Team captain and goalkeeper Patrick McCormack, who made two splendid saves late in the game to foil goal attempts by stuggling Clonoulty, said the feeling of skippering Sars to county final success was “unreal.” He told me- “This is my fifth county final and to win it and receive the Dan Breen Cup is something out of this world. It is a very special honour for me and I want to thank all the lads on the team for making it happen. We got a great start today, but, we knew Clonoulty weren’t going to lie down. They came back and had us in difficulty before the interval. Our two point lead wasn’t a lot after all the play we had. They had a purple patch coming up to the interval and we knew we would have to come back at them strongly after the break. It went well for us after that, but, we had to be on our toes all the time until Lar’s goal gave us that extra confidence. Things went well for me today. Some days you are lucky enough to get a stick to the ball in time, and other times it doesn’t happen for you. I’m delighted with my luck today.”
Clutching the County final ‘Man of the Match’ award under his arm for the second year running, young Padraic Maher, one of the most decorated players in the game at present commented- “We are thrilled. We escaped against Toome and it was up to us to prove ourselves today. It was a tough game and we had it all to do to shake off Clonoulty. We knew they would put it up to us, but we got a good start to the second half and we built on it. There is a great feeling in that dressingroom, to be part of a club two-in-a-row is very special for me at the end of what was a fantastic season for Tipperary hurling. It was great to be part of both.