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BallybayClubNotes

October 18th, 2022

Only Sport Can Do This To You

As Conor McCarthy’s shot whistled by the post in the dying minutes on Sunday, Conor, my 9 year old, who wasn’t even born when we last won a Senior Championship, asked me “Dad, can you stop shaking”.

Sadly, watching what I thought was going to be the ghost of Christmas Past playing out before my eyes, shaking wasn’t my choice, it was just happening.

Mary Walshe, my first cousin, asked me how long was left, 90 seconds, an eternity……..

Only sport can do this to you. Only sport can give you the highest of highs and the unfathomable lows.

And in the last 10 years this club has endured many gut wrenching lows. Surely no other club in any sport in the world have gone through the pain that we have this past decade?

2012 we win The Mick Duffy and all was good with the world.

2013 beaten by Scotstown in the semi final, no excuses, they were the better side on the day.

2014 beaten by Clontibret by 2 points in another semi final.

But we came back.

2015 lose to Clontibret after an epic trilogy and then an exhausted team are beaten by Blayney in qualifiers.

But we came back.

2016 lose another semi final, narrowly to Scotstown.

But we came back.

2017 lead Scotstown going into injury time only to get pegged back then lose a tight replay by 3.

But we came back.

2018 play great football throughout the championship but just don’t get going on the day of the final and lose to Scotstown.

But we came back.

2019 go toe to toe with Scotstown in the pouring rain in Clontibret. Draw and lose the replay.

But we came back.

2020 win the most epic match I’ve ever witnessed in semi final v Inniskeen but can’t replicate for final.

But we came back.

2021 lose to Truagh after leading by 7 early on. Watch on as Truagh almost get over the line v Scotstown.

But we came back.

And as Julius kicked the ball into the darkening Clones sky, Diarmuid Boylan signalled the end of the game, 3,654 days of hurt was finally ended.

It took a lot to get over this Scotstown team. It took a slide rule pass from Shane McGuinness to pick out Dessie for the vital goal, only our 4th in 11 finals.

It took Shane scoring from a shot the like of which he had missed a few times in the semi final, but that didn’t stop him.

It took Drew being Drew and Ryan being Ryan.

It took Dessie Ward to land 3 monster kicks in a row in the first half to give us a lead we never relinquished.

It took Daniel and Aaron, leaving everything they had in roles that aren’t glamorous but are vital.

It took Chris, rolling back the years with 4 points all as crucial as each other.

It took Julius and his calmness.

It took Shane and Tiernan, both excellent on Sunday and all year.

It took Ciaran to dog it around the middle as usual.

It took Paul, forcing his tired body to intercept a pass and get fouled to break the momentum in the closing stages.

It took Colm, running hard and straight and often.

It took Tommy K, didn’t let the early wides get to him. Vital point and wise assist to Chris for the last score.

It took Mickey and Fuzzy to finish it out.

And finally it took Eoin McKearney, leadership like his father and grandfather and grand uncle before him. Scored a huge point at a pivotal moment.

It needed performances and moments like these to beat a team for the ages. Make no mistake, this Scotstown side is one of the best in Monaghan history. And, like true champions, they were not letting go of their title without a mighty fight. But how fitting for our great Ballybay team to be pushed all the way and to be able to show just how resilient and talented and extraordinary they are.

Expat Adrian Harte over in Switzerland summed it up best:

“What a wonderful team. What admirable men.

Skill and bravery throughout. Moral courage today.

Page in history deservedly written.

Savour every second.”

We came back because that’s who we are.

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