2022 was a year like no other for Blacks and Whites.
Having sealed both the Leinster League and the Paddy Cahill Cup earlier this season, they ended their 13-year wait for a junior county title after a defeat of Windgap in October’s decider.
While they ultimately fell short in the Leinster championship with Dublin side Commercials defeating them in last weekend’s hard-fought semi-final, everyone associated with the club will reflect on 2022 with joy and delight in the months and years to come.
That loss at the hands of Colin Martin’s men brought down the curtain on manager Eddie Scally’s time at the club.
His four years in charge brought with it 2 Leinster League titles, 1 Paddy Cahill Cup, 1 Junior ‘D’ League title and the all-important junior championship.
Speaking to Scoreline following his decision to part with the club, the Westmeath man outlined the reasons for his exit, his highlights as the boss and what the future holds.
He began: “I’m with the club four years now and while I absolutely love the club and love the group of players, I just think it’s the right time to get a new voice and I think a bit of freshness is what is needed ahead of a big challenge in the intermediate championship next year.
“I’m with the lads four years and there’s only so many times you can go back to the well. It eventually becomes repetitive and rehearsed and I would have hated if that staleness had set in.
“I thought about stepping away last year, but the players and the chairman and secretary wanted me to stay and they made that very clear.
“Now is the time for everyone to go their own separate ways though. I honestly believe I’ve achieved everything I can with Blacks and Whites and there’s no need to stick around once that’s the case.”
Scally continued: “I’m going to miss it terribly. I love being around that group of people and we have so many memories that we have forged together so whatever the future holds I’ll always be checking to see how the team are going.
“The highlight is definitely winning the junior championship but there’s things that stick out to me that most other people wouldn’t remember.
“The first time I met the lads I told them that I wouldn’t be able to improve them as hurlers because I come from a football background,” he joked.
“In my first year we won the Leinster League title, and we played before Kilkenny were going up against Wexford and Wexford Park was packed out.
“We got to play in front of 12,000 people and we defeated Glenmore that day and I’ll never forget it.
“So there are things like that that stand out but nothing will beat winning the county championship especially winning it with such a great group of people. It was the biggest highlight of my management career and one of the best moments of my life.”
He also casted an eye on his future in the game.
“I don’t think it’s the end of the journey for me. I’m only in my early 40s and I still have so much energy for it.
“My wife Bríd will make the decision as to when I go back in. She has made a lot of sacrifices over the last number of years, and she is so supportive of me and pushes me on.
“I’m also in a lucky position given that I have three kids that are amazing and they’re all well-established where they are whether it be in college or in school so with their help I can go straight back into a club.
He concluded by saying: “If I know it’s the right challenge, I’ll go straight for it.”
A mindset that brought unparalleled success to Blacks and Whites and may well bring silverware to a new club in the near future.