It was a long time coming for Coill Dubh as they ended a long barren spell to capture the Division 1 Hurling League Title with a 0-17 to 0-15 victory over Naas on Sunday afternoon.
The forward line in particular stood tall with full forward Johnny Byrne garnering five points from play and he admitted that the recent Championship loss to the same opponents was a huge motivating factor.
“It was a win we really wanted as it has been a while since Coill Dubh have actually won a League Final, we’ve contested a few in the last few years but when it came to winning it was a bit of a struggle but we had to put a performance in as Naas gave us a bit of a beating in the first round of the Championship a couple of weeks ago and we were looking at them more than the final as we kind of owed them one”.
“We didn’t look at the margin of that result, we just looked at individually owning your position and throughout the whole field that happened for the whole game and that’s why the deficit came down”.
“Everyone was able to man their own position and that gave us plenty of confidence”.
Coill Dubh were majorly helped with the sending off of Naas goalkeeper Jeff Keane after only fifteen minutes with Byrne directly involved and while he acknowledged it may have been harsh he also pointed out the role that spare man Ronan Guilfoyle then had on the game who was only in the team with Mark Grace away.
“Jeff Keane pulled across me but sure look that’s Hurling and at times it may not have been a red card and at times it would have been so that’s just the way it is”.
“Anyone who knows Ronan Guilfoyle when he plays Hurling is that he never gives up and he is a forager and that’s the Coill Dubh way in keep working for that ball”.
“You have to put in the work rate against a team like Naas because they have the hurlers that can rule the roost and can be excellent all the way through the game if you give them the time where I think the hard work we put in throughout the game was excellent”, Byrne admitted.
The dual star dropped off the Kildare Football Panel with his partner giving birth to a baby girl this year and he’s really enjoyed giving Coill Dubh his full attention.
Having almost everyone back on board has improved things no end and it’s a big boost as they look ahead to the Championship.
“We have struggled for the last few years with lads going on holidays and being injured and it’s probably the first time that we have had our forward line together in a while so its good to have everyone back”.
“It’s just been back to the basics for me and Hurling with the Club and I put my heart and soul into it”.
“It’s been great to give a full year to them because they have grown me into the person I’m now. I’ve a baby girl Ella there and it adds a special feeling to it.”
“It’s a confidence thing going into Championship now but its all about performance for us and we will worry about the next game when it comes”.