Dundalk Schools Captain Paddy Reilly talks about his side’s win, that spot kick and those last few minutes. SLIDESHOW- Click Multimedia links on the right hand side
DUNDALK SCHOOLS captain Paddy Reilly took one giant step into the history books on Saturday, becoming only the second captain to lead the side to a Leinster Senior Colleges A Championship.
The last captain was St Mary’s player, Paul Malone, back in 2002, but even Paul would be the first to admit that his side’s win was a little less dramatic than Dundalk’s recent 2-8 to 0-12 win against St Patrick’s in Páirc Táilteann.
Leading by two points in the final five minutes, Dundalk were bombarded under a never ending siege of Pat’s attacks.
Throwing their bodies on the line as Pat’s went for a goal, Dundalk’s players were heroic in their efforts to thwart the Navan side.
One man who missed the final few minutes and had to agonisingly watch from the sidelines was skipper Reilly, who hobbled off with three minutes to go.
But Reilly had already made a huge contribution, scoring Dundalk’s second goal, a penalty from the spot after Shane Thornton was fouled.
His team mates and managers said they never doubted Reilly, but he himself did not know where he was going to place the kick.
“To be honest, I never knew where I was going to kick it”, he said.
“I was looking at the keeper, he’s six-foot-four and I knew he was going to spread himself real wide. Then he just sort of went in the run up to one side and I kicked it the other side so lucky it went in.”
Before Reilly could take the penalty, there was a bit of theatrics beforehand as he was made place the ball on the spot for a second time, thanks to some constructive arguing from Pat’s players. Along with that, a large crowd of Pat’s fans were making as much noise as they could to put him off.
“They said I placed it before the spot, but I didn’t, but it’s typical really, as they try to get you to forget what is on your mind.”
Reilly said his team were on the end of strong words at half time from the management, but the second half performance from his side was super.
“I thought we fought brilliantly in the second half. We were just super. At times it must have looked as though we were dead and out, but it just shows you the spirit of this team.
“The boys were not too happy with us at half time. We did stupid things. We did not get a lot of breaking balls, we hoofed a lot of them.
“The second half, we came out and did really well. I know we came out poorly, but then we settled down and got some points on the board. The goal was brilliant, Conall McKeever did brilliantly to set it up.
“And then the penalty, hitting the net was a great feeling.”
Reilly was hard on himself for missing the final few minutes, but thanks to the strength of the panel, he knew his replacement was up to the job, especially in those frantic few minutes when Pat’s threw everything at Dundalk.
“They threw everything at us. Typical me, I cramped up and missed the end, but the lads who came on also did brilliantly. Aaron Murray came on for me and did the job perfectly. That’s the strength of the panel, it’s super.
“We’ve been training every week and it’s just a joy. Some people do not like going to training, we love training and it gives you a lot of belief into the game. The next stop is the All-Ireland and I hope we can take the next step.”