O'Meara is Coolderry's quiet leader

O'Meara is Coolderry's quiet leader

Coolderry captain Brendan O'Meara has had to park his wedding date until next month due to the Offaly club's involvement in their first ever All-Ireland Club SHC final tomorrow at Croke Park.

O'Meara was due to tie the knot with Jessica Kennedy this afternoon, a neighbour of Coolderry manager Ken Hogan from Lorrha in Tipperary.

But Coolderry's progress to their first All-Ireland final, coupled with a first Leinster success along the way, meant that the plans had to be quickly put on hold.

"I was due to get married on March 16. I booked that date a year or more ago. It's a great situation to be in, to be honest," he said.

"If someone had told me a year ago that I would be in an All-Ireland club final and to change the date of the wedding to April 13 now I wouldn't have believed it."

The O'Mearas are steeped in hurling tradition with Brendan's father Peter from Birr originally, while his uncle Eamonn is currently involved with the Birr club.

Both were the Coolderry and Birr secretaries respectively in 2006, while Brendan and his first cousin JP captained the respective clubs.

JP and another cousin Paul have won All-Ireland club medals in St Patrick's Day deciders with Birr and Brendan is hoping to emulate this feat.

"I have chatted to John Paul a lot here and there about it," he explained.

"But it's a new experience for us really and we are looking forward to it and we have to try and prepare for it as best we can."

Looking at final opponents Loughgiel, Brendan has been impressed with what he has seen to date of the Antrim outfit.

"They had a great win in the All-Ireland semi-final and put up a very good performance. They put up a very good scoreline as well.

"They look very impressive, we know that we are going to be up against it really. For us it's about playing as well as we can on the day. We'll see where that leaves us and hopefully it will be enough."

O'Meara says it is a huge honour for him to captain the small club from the close-knit Offaly community in their first All-Ireland final appearance.

"It's a really honour to captain the team in an All-Ireland final, we are a close bunch of players and we get on very well also.

"There are a lot of older guys who are around the same age as myself and a lot of guys who have played senior hurling for a long time with the club. Certainly we have a lot of leaders throughout the squad."

O'Meara confesses that he never thought he would see Coolderry in a St Patrick's Day final after being involved with the team for so long without even provincial success.

"You are playing year in, year out and hoping that you would progress I suppose. We found it very difficult winning an Offaly title and there was a great Birr team there for many years.

"We are delighted now that we are where we want to be and it is about performing well on the day and to the best of our ability.

"Birr had an exceptional team there for many years and they've done great. They are tough opposition at the moment and we are fortunate to be there on All-Ireland final day."

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