He’s experienced the pain of defeat in a championship final before. His first wound coming as a player against the same team - Newtown Blues - back in 1981.
As he stood, arms crossed, watching the Blues celebrate their title success, Cooley manager Adrian Sheelan lamented the costly goals his side conceded.
“Goals win games”, he stated matter of factly, “The second goal killed us, we were in possession coming out of defence and they got the goal. We felt that was it then. We got back into the game in the second half and looked like we were going to kick on.
“Everytime we seemed to get a score the Blues went up and scored and the second goal definitely left us chasing our tails.”
The final ten minutes may have played out as a lap of honour in many ways for the Newfoundwell club, but at the start of the match Cooley staked a claim for getting their hands on the Joe Ward trophy for the first time in 23 years.
They came up short in the end. But that first Andy McDonnell goal will trouble Sheelan for some time.
“We started well. But we had a bad blunder for their goal and goals in championship finals are vital. We were totally in control, we were five one ahead and the goal was a sickner to conceed playing into the wind.
The second half, although again they started with real promise, quickly turned against his side. Yet Sheelan remained proud of his team’s effort and dedication, not just today, but through the whole year.
“I knew in the second half the Blues would be quite capable of carrying ball. But look, I can’t knock our lads we gave it a shot and on the day the goals won it.”
Before Sunday’s match, Sheelan had to make the decision whether to start captain Aoghan McGuinness or not. It was a big call and one which Shelan stands by, but McGuinness was not fully fit concedes the Cooley boss.
“He wasn’t able to play the role that he had been playing all year for us. He played effectively enough early on in the first ten, fifteen minutes of the game but he probably wasn’t completely fit.”
If the Blues goals were vital for pushing them to victory, Cooley’s lack of a goal threat was a disappointment for Sheelan. His side had managed to knock in seven goals in the championship prior to Sunday’s match. One goal and it might have been different.
“The first goal took them back into it, because we were probably just in control of the game then and second goal killed it. Even though we didn’t lie down, we certainly needed a goal.”
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