St Flannan’s College coach Brendan Bugler said today’s
Having played into the teeth of a strong wind and being reduced to 14 players in the 23rd minute, they came from five point down at half-time to win by three, 0-14 to 0-11.
They had two enforced changes from their Dr Harty Cup victory last weekend with Jack Lyons and Conor Halpin starting instead of Tony Butler (unavailable) and Conner Hegarty (injured).
There was a strong wind there and to be only five points down, I thought we did brilliantly in the first half closing out space. The important thing was not to concede a goal. We had a sending off before half time, I thought it was harsh myself.
"Ashley (Brohan) has been a big player for us all year so the message at half time was we wanted to give him another day out. We fought tooth and nail, that is as good a win as Flannan’s will ever have."
The introduction of joint-Capt Conner Hegarty just after half-time was a boost, as was the overall contribution of joint-Capt Cian Galvin.
“First and foremost, you have to look at the player and his well-being. Conner said he was fine to us but Conor Halpin (started instead of Hegarty) has been chomping at the bit as well. He has been training really well for the last couple of months and he came in today and did a great job and when Conner Hegarty came on, he has that bit of class and he was exceptional in the second half. Cian Galvin has been inspirational for us all year so to see that performance, I am not surprised.”
Not conceding a goal went a long way towards securing victory.
St Kieran’s brought on the likes of Harry Shine, Eoin Guilfoyle and Ciaran Brennan. But to keep a clean sheet in the first half against that wind, our defence has been heroic. They were heroic as well last week (Harty final). It was backs to the wall kind of stuff there, not good for the heart, but we came out on the right side of it today.
St Flannan’s progress to a semi-final meeting with Connacht champions St Raphael’s on Monday week.
“It is great to be there but the date is not ideal because all these lads are out in championship (in Clare) the day before. They went back to their clubs this week and did a session on the Tuesday and some did a session on Thursday. We had a light session on Wednesday. We will probably do the same next week. We have to be mindful of the U21 championship in Clare because it is important that they perform for their clubs too.”
St Flannan’s are just one step away from an All-Ireland final appearance and the hunger is there to try and regain a cup they last held in 2005.
“It doesn’t matter whether it is an egg and spoon race, these lads are competitors. The Croke Cup is another competition. The Harty is over, we put a blanket over that for today to focus on the Croke Cup. There is a huge task ahead. St Raphael’s College (next up) beat an exceptional Presentation (Athenry) team. They are a good school and we will have to have our work done to match them.”