IT WAS not to be first time lucky, but the manner in which Lucan Sarsfields went toe to toe with Ballyboden St Enda’s in the Dublin senior hurling championship final last Sunday in Parnell Park left manager Damian Fox immensely proud of his charges.
Written off as rank outsiders in some quarters, they led twice in the first half and were only once more than a score behind a fancied Boden who landed their sixth title in seven years, grinding out a 0-13 to 0-10 win.
With decorated stars like Conal Keaney and Paul Ryan to the fore, they had the extra bit of know-how down the closing quarter, something that Fox felt was key in the final exchanges.
“They’re a seasoned side. They’ve been around a good few years; they knew how to get the scores.
“We did keep going until the very end, but then I felt we needed to get ahead, to have any chance of winning. We just couldn’t seem to get that score.
“They knew how to hold on to the ball and to throw it around, when the occasion demanded. But I’m proud of these players, and bitterly disappointed for them.”
He added that an earlier final might have suited his young crew better as the soft, heavy conditions led to numerous physical spells.
“This time of year suits them a bit better than maybe two or three months ago. If the ground was a bit harder we might have been able to move it around more. They were physically stronger all over the field.”
Nonetheless, it was a ground-breaking year for Lucan’s hurlers as they broke the semi-final spell that had beset them in recent times to reach their first ever final.
It brought with them one of the biggest supports seen in the county hurling final in recent years and galvanised a village in support.
On top of that, the club was celebrating an All-Star as last Thursday, Peter Kelly was named in the backs for the honours team.
Speaking recently about what that means to the club, former Lucan manager and long-time mentor Sean McCaffrey said: “Peter winning an All Star is a huge boost for the club. He is one of those players that every single youngster in the club would look up to, so this can only inspire more of them to bigger and better things.”