For Kerins O’Rahillys, the largest possible ‘what if’ will hang over this county final defeat for some time to come.
Standing outside the losing dressing-room, Rahillys manager William Harmon confirmed that it was a hamstring injury that ended Gavin O’Brien’s county final afternoon during the pre-match warm-up, while a groin injury took David Moran out of the equation inside seven minutes.
Thereafter, a game Rahillys side were playing with one hand tied behind their back.
“When you come into a county final, you want to give it your best shot with everybody on the field, but unfortunately, we lost Gavin, then we lost David,” Harmon began.
“For Gavin, there were no ill-effects until just before the ball was going to be thrown-in when we were told it was his hamstring. It was very late. Two huge setbacks because you are straightaway using two of your subs.
“David Moran and Gavin O'Brien are huge players for us. If they were with us, you just don't know what could have happened. You'd love to have said what if we had our full complement for the full game, where would it have brought us, but that is sport. These things happen so you just have to accept them. We weren't able to play our normal game. We did our best with what we had.”
Their attempts to make do included bringing full-forward Tommy Walsh out the field for a large chunk of proceedings. To use Harmon’s own words, the Strand Road side was “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.
“You are trying to plug holes, you are trying to make the best scenario of what you have on the field of play. Ideally, we want Tommy inside, but he had to come out at times to win primary possession to get the ball in. It does take away a small bit [from your inside threat].
“We got it down to a one-score game, three points, and if you get another point you just never know what might happen, but they got one or two frees which I felt were a bit questionable.”