Rathdowney-Errill manager John Delaney on the line against Borris-Kilcotton in the SHC final at O'Moore Park. Photo: Alf Harvey
*Our Senior hurling final coverage is in association with Clement Herron Real Estate
Few managers have suffered as much as Rathdowney-Errill’s John Delaney. Delaney lost the final in 2016 to Borris-Kilcotton after a replay and then last year his side were pipped to the post by Camross.
Delaney finally got that win he was craving as his side held on to secure victory after a cagey game of hurling. A goal from Aaron Dunphy looked to have put the wind in the sails of Borris-Kilcotton but Mark Kavanagh fired over three consecutive placed balls to settle his side down once again.
“It feels great, some people say that it’s not the same managing once you retire and that you don’t get the same kick out of it. I’ve lost two county finals, and this nearly makes up for it.
“It was a tough game and I felt our backs hurled really well and they fought very hard. We have the hurlers just trying to get them to buy into that is hard, but I thought we were really good all game.
“Conditions have changed and both teams found it hard to score. They’ve good scoring forwards as well you know.
“Roddy scored two wonderful points just before half-time and then after half-time. He was actually struggling big-time with his back all week and maybe wasn’t really sharp enough starting off with his confidence. Once he got going, he just showed his class. In fairness, the balls played to him were brilliant balls as well.
“They rocked us with a goal, and they could have had another one. Games can change and if they’d to have gotten the goal, which was a super save, I thought It would have been a huge turning point in the match. I thought we were after doing most of the hurling and we finished strong, they’re good lads.
“Last year’s final was tough to take and all year it’s been tough to forget about it. We probably learned a little bit off of Camross last year, they have a great spirit about them, and they always perform in the county final or semi-final. We know once we got over the semi-final, we had to battle hard to get over them. When we did get past them, we knew we were ready for anything.
“I’m looking forward to the Leinster Championship, I still think we’ve more in us and as a Laois team after winning a county final, we’re going to look forward and embrace it. Any of the four teams, the two from Laois and the two from Offaly, will feel confident going into the championship. We’re there now and it’ll be a battle, it’s here as well in O’Moore Park which is a help.”