Wall — a player for Mary I in their first Fitzgibbon Cup final appearance when they lost to UCC four years ago but who was left paralysed by illness in 2013 — guided the Limerick college to a second crown in a row on Saturday.
Carey, who has managed IT Carlow to three league titles and their first Fitzgibbon Cup final appearance at Pearse Stadium, said he was disappointed they didn’t go the whole way.
“Of course we are disappointed. We came up to try and win that game. Unfortunately, we fell short. The better team on the day won but we are very, very proud of our lads.
“And I think that Jamie Wall is an inspiration to any person in the country. I want to congratulate him as manager of Mary I but certainly say that he has taken adversity completely in his stride, has gone out and managed a winning Fitzgibbon Cup team. And who knows, we could see him with his native Cork or any other county in the future,” said the five-time All-Ireland winner.
Wall expressed pride in his charges who he took charge of after Eamon Cregan stepped down following last year’s success.
“I would have spoken to a few of the senior players, just canvassing their opinions. The bottom line is if you don’t have your players you don’t have anything. We would consider we have a very united group. We put together our package. I went for an interview for the job and just got it. It all happened naturally. When I was over in England doing rehab last year and the vacancy was there, I said it was a short commitment and it would break my heart to see some of the guys I had grown so fond of involved in a set-up that maybe wasn’t what it should have been. That’s not to say that mine was perfect.
“I just felt that I could do a good job. There are the obvious difficulties, grass isn’t your biggest friend when you are in a chair. But I have a great bunch of lads,” said the Kilbrittain club man.
His men never trailed in the final and lived up to their billing as favourites with a polished performance. Their big county stars like Ronan Maher, Cian Lynch, Colm Galvin, Darragh O’Donovan and Aaron Gillane delivered throughout.
“We all felt coming into the game that a good start would make life very difficult for Carlow,” added Wall. “I played in a Fitzgibbon here and I was out on my feet after a semi-final. We knew that in a final a start is a huge thing and we got that thankfully.”
Mary I used the wind well in the opening half to lead by double scores at the break, turning around with a 0-16 to 0-8 lead against an IT Carlow side who were taken to extra-time in the semi-final the previous day.
Tipperary’s Ronan Maher marshalled a strong defence and wing-back Conor Twomey got in on the scoring act with some great points from distance. Laois tyro Stephen Maher, who finished with 1-13, hit two points for IT Carlow shortly after the restart but they suffered a huge blow when Darragh O’Donovan pounced for the opening goal after 36 minutes.
A delivery from Luke Meade fell kindly for him and the Doon man sent it to the net with a one-handed strike.
Aaron Gillane blasted home a penalty after 48 minutes to kill off any notion of a comeback by the newcomers after he himself was fouled.
Maher grabbed a goal for a Carlow side who never gave up before Mary I finished in style when sub Pa Ryan got a late goal to retain the title for the Limerick college.
A Gillane 1-5 (1-0 pen, 4f), D O’Donovan 1-3 (2 sl), R Maher 0-4 (3f), P Ryan 1-0, M O’Neill 0-3, C Lynch 0-3, C Twomey 0-3, C Galvin 0-1, L Meade 0-1, S Cahill 0-1.
S Maher 1-13 (12f), C Dunford 0-2, C Dwyer 0-2, M Kavanagh 0-1, C Bolger 0-1.
C Barrett; D Sweeney, R English, E Quirke; C Twomey, R Maher, A Flynn; C Galvin, S Cahill; D O’Donovan, M O’Neill, A Gillane; T Gallagher, C Lynch, L Meade.
T Monaghan for Gallagher (half-time), P Ryan for O’Neill (55), S Burke for Gillane (63).
E Rowland; D Palmer, K Hannafin, R Browne; R Moran, D Healy, D O’Hanlon; J Doyle, C Dunford; M Kavanagh, C Dwyer, S Maher; C Bolger, M Russell, J Fagan.
T Nolan for Russell (50).
Brian Gavin (Offaly).