St. Mochtas' Declan Byrne receives the man-of-the-match award from clubman Billy Lawlor of IFC sponsors CTI Business Solutions. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Declan Byrne says St. Mochta’s have achieved “the holy grail” after landing the Seamus Flood Cup on Sunday afternoon.
A scorer of five points, the 2009 junior championship winner led the Louth Village side to senior football for the first time in 37 years courtesy of their two point win over St. Fechin’s at The Grove.
“It’s everything we’ve dreamed of,” he said.
“Everyone wrote us off after the first round.
“We knew we were up against it today because they have savage footballers, Bevan Duffy, his brother (Eoghan), driving through the middle, taking it to us...
“Then we lost ‘our fella’ and most people in the crowd probably thought: ‘that’s it, Moch’s are beat’, but all year we’ve shown that battling spirit, that character and that’s what has brought us through in the end. It’s what you dream about.
“I’m not one to get emotional, they’re going around the village thinking I’m made of stone, but it’s 37 years; it’s blood, sweat and tears; it’s coming back year in and year out when it wasn’t happening for us; but we’ve dug deep this year, we’ve worked really hard.”
Byrne admitted that the uttering of senior football sounded “amazing”, while praising the standard of Sunday’s game.
However, it was his team-mates whom he was most keen to speak of.
“It’s character, we’ve shown it all year, it’s a never-say-die attitude. Once you have that in Gaelic football you have a chance.
“We kept plugging away and hit them on the break three or four times towards the end. We’re lucky enough that we have the legs, the young lads, they have come in this year and have been a breath of fresh of air. Eamon O’Neill, up and down the pitch, not a bother on him, kicking scores. That’s what it’s all about. You live for these days.
“And, you know what, Sean O’Mahony’s did it a few years ago, winning the intermediate championship (before the senior) and we’re lucky enough that we have a crew of young lads, we have a minor team in a final and we’re going to get an influx of new lads.
“I want to play senior football. I’ve never experienced it and I’m sure all the lads are chomping at the bit.”