Martin Comerford: O’Loughlin Gaels’ determination reaps reward

Age and a busted groin should be keeping Martin Comerford on the sidelines but Sunday in Wexford Park showed you can’t keep a good man down.

The 38-year-old’s four points illuminated the stadium as O’Loughlin Gaels ended Oulart-the-Ballagh’s reign as Leinster champions.

Comerford’s feat was all the more staggering, considering he hasn’t been able to train since before last month’s county final win over Ballyhale Shamrocks.

“I had a groin injury that I got in the county final and I’ve been struggling. I’ve done exercise and rehabilitation to get it right and I hadn’t really trained for the last three weeks, so I was very sluggish starting off.

“But it held up, and hopefully I’ll be alright for the next day again.”

Ever modest, Comerford dismissed the idea he had rolled back the years with his stunning collection of points.

“I don’t know about that! It’s great for me to be playing with family and friends and team-mates that I grew up with.

“I was playing with Alan Geoghegan there since we were six or seven. Alan didn’t hurl for the last two or three years at senior level but he put in a fantastic effort this year, got into great physical shape and he’s a massive player for us.

“He’s a brilliant ball-winner, he’s well able to drive it on and fair play to him. Family, friends, and club — it means the world to everyone involved with O’Loughlin’s.”

A first final appearance since they claimed the provincial title in 2010, Comerford sensed things would come good for the club when players were showing a renewed enthusiasm at training.

“We have been poor in the last few years. We got to the final last year and we were beaten by a better team in Clara and it was very disappointing. But when we left Nowlan Park last year, we said we were going to give it a right rattle for 2016.

“Everybody knuckled down and put in a great effort in training. You know things are going well when lads are turning up early for training, they are out on the field early pucking around and sharpening up and that’s the way our lads were all year. They were mad for action.”

Last year’s runners-up Cuala now stand in their way, although Comerford admits he’s in the dark about the Dublin champions.

“I don’t know much about them but I was at the Leinster final last year when Oulart beat them, they were red-hot favourites to beat Oulart that day and there was a strong breeze.

“We’ll have a look at Cuala and that’s another day’s work.”


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