BY RYAN FERRY
Emmet Doherty admits that the St Mary’s Convoy dressing room was not a happy place at half-time in Saturday’s Intermediate ‘B’ Final but the break helped the team to find their focus.
Convoy were off the pace in the first half and they struggled to deal with a slick Naomh Columba side.
Captain Doherty felt his team weren’t putting their opponents under enough pressure but they sorted that issue at half-time.
Convoy were transformed when they returned to the field and they notched three goals while also keeping Glen scoreless.
“That sums up a game of two halves,” said a delighted Doherty after the match.
“At half-time we were struggling. We didn’t have the intensity at midfield and we were getting over-run.
“In fairness to the boys in the second half, from the very first minute, we got on the ball.
“We lifted it big time and thankfully we got over the line.”
Defenders have been struggling to deal with the long ball in to the square at a variety of grades this year, and Convoy’s first two goals came from shots that dropped short, and weren’t dealt with.
Doherty said: “Balls come in and they can go anywhere. Especially with the wind, it was difficult out there and it was wet at times out there too.
“We got lucky. Sometimes they break for you and sometimes they don’t. Thankfully today it went our way and we got those goals.”
There were some nervous moments and Doherty had to make a couple of good stops while Ronan Gillespie crashed a shot against the crossbar late on.
“We were very fortunate with the one that came off the crossbar. If it was a couple of inches lower, it would have nestled in the back of the net and they would have been one point ahead at that stage.
“We got the rub of the green and when it goes your way, you have to push on and put the game to bed and I thought we did that in the second half and the third goal capped it off for us.”
The likes of Doherty, Michael Patton and Paul O’Leary provided some experience for Convoy on Saturday, but it is a very young side in general and they showed plenty of heart and determination.
Some of those players are likely to be filtered into the Convoy first string next year, and Doherty thinks they can make the step up.
“The seniors have been unfortunate because a couple of men have been away at times and that has helped the reserves.
“It’s a big lift because we had a mixed campaign with the seniors. The league was a struggle and the championship didn’t go to plan.
“But to be fair this success is testament to the work done by Conor (McDermott), Paul (Lynch), and Larry (McMullan).
“If you had seen that team last year, they were hammered every week.
“So to be sitting here with an Intermediate Championship – not a junior one – means a lot to everyone.
“Sometimes people can say the work isn’t being done but I can say for sure that it is, and you can see the difference in some of our young players.
“Some of them are very young and it’s just about trying to blend them into the senior team next year and try and get out of the junior again.”