Derek Lyng is no doubt waiting for the Shamrocks players to come become available for intercounty selection once again, they just have a little matter of an All-Ireland final against Dunloy to contend with in the meantime.
Pat Hoban’s men had to get over Ballygunner in the semis, last year’s winners, who famously defeated them in the final due to a last-gasp Harry Ruddle goal. When the game was decided, the public naturally gravitated towards the story of redemption for the Kilkenny side.
However speaking to KCLR Scoreline half-back Evan Shefflin, who was in the stands for Lyng’s first game in charge, admitted that was not the side’s focus at all.
“It was more about getting back to an All-Ireland final, and it was not really about beating Ballygunner. It was getting back to the All-Ireland Final, where we lost last year, and righting that wrong. It is nice to beat the All-Ireland champions but at the end of the day, it was about getting to the final.”
“Whether it was St. Thomas, Dunloy, or Ballygunner we had to beat in the semi-final, all we focused on was getting to the final. We are delighted we now have the opportunity.”
After the final, then-manager, James O’Connor stepped away from Shamrocks and Pat Hoban stepped into his place. James Stephens was vanquished in the final as the country club claimed a historic five county titles in a row. Speaking of history, 9 All Ireland titles are on the line against Northern side Dunloy.
Shefflin went on to discuss how the new management team has them re-invigorated ahead of the crucial decider;
“We felt a small bit stale after last year, you wouldn’t know where to go with yourself after a loss like that last year. Whether it was just unlucky, or if there was something else we could have done. A bit of freshness is always good.”
“I think the lads coming in, was always going to be a good thing. All three of them brought something new to the table, and it really help us bring it up an extra level. You can see that all throughout Kilkenny and Leinster and the last day against Ballygunner. Tactically we are probably better to set up than we ever have been.”