PETER Scott went down in Letterkenny Rugby Club folklore in April when his last-gasp drop goal saw them win the Gordon West Cup at Ravenhill.
It had been more than ten years since Letterkenny competed in the decider of the prestigious competition and it looked like they would have to settle for defeat against Monaghan with time nearly up.
However, Scott had other ideas and he produced a brilliant kick to ensure Letterkenny got their hands on the silverware.
It was a wonderful triumph and capped a great first year in charge for Head Coach Paul O’Kane and his assistant Ally Ferguson.
Letterkenny had gone off the boil somewhat in recent years but Scott and his teammates were enthused when the new coaching ticket got down to business last summer.
They weren’t expecting any quick fixes but soon started to make steady improvements.
“We had new coaches come in at the start of the year and they turned the whole thing around,” said Scott this week as he was named Donegal News Sports Star of the Month for June in conjunction with Brian McCormick Sports & Leisure.
“We see it as a five-year programme and we were just looking to get it up-and-going.
“We probably got more than we expected from it in our first year.”
O’Kane and Ferguson were keen to introduce youth to the team and that infusion helped the side, and Scott says the older players were buoyed by that even though some of them came under pressure to hold on to their own starting berths.
“There was talent there but you had some young boys going away to college and stuff like that.
“It was hard to commit but we have them back now and should have a great team going forward if the young boys stay with us.
“It will take a bit of time but we will try to keep building.
“There’s a good culture there and nobody holds any grudges against anyone. Everyone is trying to help one another.”
It was remarkable that Scott was the hero of the hour in the final as the 23-year-old endured a disrupted season, and spent most of the campaign on the sidelines.
“I tore a muscle in my lower leg in the middle of the season and I just couldn’t get to the bottom of it.
“I think we have got it sorted now so hopefully there will be no more problems going forward.
“I was out for somewhere between four and six months. I was doing physio but it just took time.
“I got scans and an MRI and I didn’t think it was that bad. If I knew it was worse I might have just left it for the year.
“Thankfully we managed to get to the final and I gradually got back.
“It was the boys that did all the hard work. They did everything and I just got back for the last game.”
It wasn’t looking good for Letterkenny as they trailed 10-0 after 26 minutes of the final in Belfast.
Scott and his teammates didn’t panic and Tony McBride landed a penalty before Keenan Barrett scored a try.
The conversion effort came back off the post and the Letterkenny players would have been forgiven for thinking it just wasn’t their day.
However, there was still time for some magic from Scott to decide it with a drop-goal at the death.
“We were down the full match until the last kick of the game.
“There were nerves there for some of the boys, and we were slow starting but once we found our feet we were grand.
“We had a few injuries on the day as well but everybody who came in played their part, and we got the result we needed.
The Carrigans native added: “The drop goal was a bit of luck. A fluke really.
“In the heat of the moment you just have to go for it sometimes.
“I asked the two joint-captains (David Brown and Ciaran Clarke) would I go for it if it was on, and they said not a hope!
“So I just kind of did it off my own back. I just thought whatever happens, happens, and luckily it went over the bar.
“I didn’t even see it go over because the sun was in my eyes.”
There were fantastic scenes after the match and the team enjoyed bringing the Gordon West Cup back to Dave Gallaher Memorial Park.
“It was a great win and hopefully it can help the club push on now.
“It wasn’t just the players. The coaches played a big role in it is as well and it’s a big boost to the club.
“There’s a lot going on behind the scenes and it takes a lot of effort and money to keep it going.”
Pre-season training has already started for the 2022/23 season and Scott and the team want to keep their momentum going and maybe secure promotion from the league.
“We got beat in the semi-final of the league by Monaghan, so will hopefully be aiming for the league this year.
“We’re going to try and get up to Q2 and see where we can go from there then.
“We’re back training away and we have a friendly now on Friday against a travelling side.
“The league starts in a couple of weeks. I haven’t been at too many sessions yet, so I need to get back at it, and we will be aiming for another good season.”