It’s only a matter of months since St Mullins’ chances of doing something in Carlow were being written off. From there to here has been a victory in itself and yet Niall O’Donnell wasn’t about to look at it that way.
“I’m disappointed because I thought we could do it today but we needed that ball to go in (to the net),” said the manager.
“What I would like to get across is that we came to take on Ballyhale. We didn’t have eight backs.
“There was plenty of space. They put up a big score but there was perfect conditions today and their goalie made two or three saves. We’re very proud of the effort we made and we would concede that the best team won today.”
The goal and the nature of it will eat at them for an eternity. Hit a post at one end, hit on the counter at the other. A six-point swing and all in the space of 20 seconds.
Add in the hat-trick of first-half points O’Donnell felt his lads gifted Ballyhale and, well, there are regrets.
But no recriminations.
He was proud of his boys, more than content with the effort they gave and the manner in which they handled some of the game’s best players on a stage to which none of them were accustomed.
“They have half the Kilkenny county forward line there. They are great players but Paul Doyle cleaned out Colin Fennelly. Let’s call a spade a spade: he cleaned him out. He got plenty of ball and plenty of chances.
“TJ Reid: Mick Walsh just nullified him totally and then we put Mick onto (Adrian) Mullen and Mullen didn’t do anything after that so you would have to credit the lads and their commitment. He kept those two lads scoreless (from play).
“There’s inter-county players getting cleaned out by these lads.”