Rosenallis celebrate their win over Bracknagh. Pic: Denis Byrne
Rosenallis manager Paddy Dunne could hardly come to terms with the enormity of what his side had achieved, after he watched them claim the Leinster JFC title on Saturday in O'Connor Park.
Speaking after the game, Dunne could barely come to terms with the win. “It's just unreal, who would have thought Rosenallis would be Leinster junior champions? Ever? It's just brilliant, we're absolutely delighted, and we'll go on now in two weeks time (and play) wherever we're going to be, but it's a great feeling.”
Dunne was also quick to pay tribute to the players, who buckled down after a poor start in the Laois championship to fire themselves to provincial glory. “No one ever gave us a chance this year, no one. From the first day against Stradbally over in Portarlington, it was nip and tuck, our performance wasn't right, but we knew we had a special group in these lads, and they do not know when they are beaten.
“We came every round after every round, and today was just the pinnacle of that, them boys do not know when they are beaten, and when we need to push on that bit extra, we push on, and we're able to do it.
“The performance in the second half was phenomenal, when we needed the boys to push on again, they showed that they had character. We brought on number twenty four, Joey Keating, and he kicked a point, and that was probably the winning of the game.”
A lightning start to the second half was key for Rosenallis, and Dunne admitted it was part of their game plan. “That's what we said at half time, we said we have to start sharp and quick in the first ten minutes.
“We said 'let's take this as three sets of ten minutes, that's all it is, and if we go 100% in the first ten minutes, we'll win this'. And fair play to the lads, for the first ten minutes they kicked on and then Bracknagh probably got the next fifteen and it was nip and tuck for the last five minutes.
“They are just a special group of players, they are unreal, they are unbelievable, for a small little parish, who could imagine it? It's not reality, is it?!”
Dunne also pointed out the impact it has had on the area. “You drive through Rosenallis now and there are green and white flags all over the place, and the hurlers will go out next week and I have no qualms about it that they will win.
“Tiredness doesn't come to these lads, they're fresh, they're young. Apart from Mark Dunne and Barry Farrell, the average age is 22, so tiredness doesn't come into it.
“They have a week's rest and then they go again next Saturday, and that's all them boys need. They're just an unbelievable group of players, and it's absolutely immense.”