AIB All Ireland Club Senior Hurling Championship
Former Clare great Sean Stack, who was the manager of the vanquished Na Piarsaigh side, spoke with the style and dignity in which he played the game when he addressed the victorious Loughgiel dressing room after Saturday’s semi-final.
“If we ever had any doubts about your dedication and commitment to the game of hurling we had those doubts well and truly dispelled here today. It is clear that you love it, you play it in the proper way, physical and manly.”
The former Clare centre-back added: “It was a joy to see the way you handled the occasion today, savage determined, no bottom to the tank at all. You were severely tested when things went our way and we got back to level the match, for in truth our boys were lucky to get back on terms the way we were playing”
“When it came to extra time you were on top all over the field and that is a serious credit to how you prepared, how well you planned, and how serious you take the game.
“We have to congratulate you for that, and for your victory and for the style in which you won it. Please God you will do it again (on St Patrick’s Day) and pull off a second All Ireland. We can only dream of things like that.”
“No complaints,” was the reaction of veteran Na Piarsaigh forward Damien Quigley after Saturday’s comprehensive extra-time loss to Loughgiel Shamrocks in this All-Ireland Club SHC semi-final at Parnell Park.
“They were the better side for long periods. We did well to come back and draw it in regular time but we’ve been doing that all year, finishing well. There’s no doubt about the character of our lads but Loughgiel were a superior force, you have to take your hat off to them.
“It makes it a bit easier to take when you know you’re well beaten and we were. Loughgiel were super.”
SDLP Alderman Harry Connolly added his words of praise to the club’s success.
The Loughgiel Shamrocks vice president, who was joined at the match by DUP Ballymoney mayor Ian Stevenson, said: “I would like to congratulate Loughgiel Shamrocks for reaching the All Ireland Club Championship final on St Patrick’s Day at Croke Park.
“After a fantastic game last Saturday, I look forward to them bringing the cup back again to sit in the trophy cabinet along with all the trophies they’ve won this year.”.
“I want to congratulate the management and the players for the great effort that was put in, not only on Saturday but over the last two years, and also the hundreds of supporters who travel all over the country to support the club.”
North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay also congratulated Loughgiel Shamrocks.
Mr McKay said that GAA supporters from across Antrim and Ulster will be behind the club as they prepare for their biggest game in nearly thirty years.
He said: “Reaching the all-Ireland final is an achievement in itself and credit must be given to all involved at Na Seamroga Loch gCaol for getting Antrim hurling back on the lineup at Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day.
“GAA supporters throughout the county and all of Ulster will be behind the club in the weeks ahead as they make the final preparations for their biggest match in nearly 30 years.
“Loughgiel have won the all-Ireland before and I’ve no doubt they can do it again next month, I’ve no doubt that many throughout the entire community will be willing them on come the 17th March.”