The Naas Senior Hurling team prior to their sem-final victory over Eire Og Corra Choill
For the third time in four years the Naas Senior Team will run out at St.Conleths Park on County Hurling Final day but unlike against Celbridge in 2016 and Ardclough in 2017 they will be hoping for a much different result.
Naas last won the big prize in 2002 where they achieved back to back victories but remarkably they didn’t make another decider until that Celbridge defeat.
You get the feeling once Naas get there they could dominate though as they are sweeping the floor of underage Hurling in the county.
The players have always been there for Naas but there may have been a doubt with regards their mentality and for Captain Paul Sullivan and the current side it’s not something they dwell on.
“It’s not that we have worked on our mentality or anything but it’s just happened that the games we’ve been in have been close”.
“I think in three of the five games we have been down by a few points at different stages and we have managed to claw back them deficits and get over the line in the games and it’s just worked out like that I suppose”.
“We haven’t worked on anything in particular and as I said lads are just clued in and everyone has bought into it”.
What they have bought into however is an increased workrate amongst the players and it’s something manager Colm Rourke is driving from the top.
Working hard might seem like second nature but it’s something Naas may have lacked in the past but it’s that type of effort that got them into Sunday’s Final.
“There has always been a massive emphasis on workrate and you always strife to have it in your performances but sometimes for whatever reason lads aren’t at the races in that department and we just seemed to get it at the right times the last day”.
“We probably hurled well for maybe twenty minutes in the whole game and we were outworked by Eire Og who looked hungrier but we managed to get a good chunk of scores in that purple patch that we had”.
“If you see a corner forward working his guts off up ahead of you and stopping easy ball coming out it just makes the backs life a lot easier. You can kind of play a step ahead of your man and take one or two risks that a bad ball might come your way and you’ve a chance of winning it ahead of your man as a result”, Sullivan admitted.
Naas showed all their character in grinding out a five point victory over Eire Og in the semi-final and as pleasing as that was they will need to repeat those heroics on Sunday.
The captain knows they need to improve again: “There was satisfying aspects to the semi-final win over Eire Og and there is obviously things to work on aswell but like we said ourselves semi-finals are for winning and it doesn’t matter what way you get over the line you just want to get over it”.
“The lads off the bench the last day were brilliant, they got 0-3 points after coming on which is massive”.
“Considering we were fairly rattled being three down with about ten minutes to go it was great that those lads had such an impact and it’s a great boost to everyone”.
Coill Dubh are very familiar foes to Naas as this will be their fourth meeting this year but Sullivan knows the task that is at hand and they will need to be at their very best to emerge victorious.
“The League Final defeat wont particularly be a motivational factor, I suppose the Championship game back in April was a bit of a freak result to be honest and Coill Dubh have just hit top form and they are the best team in the County as we speak”.
“They are League Champions for a reason and they have some new lads there now that has made them stronger so look we are going to have to go up a fair few levels to overturn that League Final result”, he said.