By John McIlwaine
Despite the fact that Loughgiel played brilliantly in their semi-final win over Na Pairsaigh and that Liam Watson scored sixteen points in that game, nobody in the southern media gave them a chance going into Saturday’s game.
A page in Saturday’s match programme carried predictions from six top hurling analysts with Dublin daily and Sunday papers, and each and everyone of them opted for Coolderry.
Cian Murphy, Christy O’Connor, Finatan O’Toole, Pat Nolan, Sean Moran and Damian Lawlor all suggested that the experience of Coolderry would see the Offaly men home.
When you read their prediction you wonder how many of them have actually watched the two semi-finals.
Of course these sort of things are of little importance but it is understandable that those involved with the Loughgiel team would feel a little miffed by it all.
Team manager PJ O’Mullan was quick to point it out in the post-match press conference just how little the assembly media really knew about his team, but he didn’t dwell on the matter and jokingly thanked the embarrassed scribes for that little bit extra motivation for his team.
PJ was also a little annoyed by RTE’s pre-match coverage of the game and while he was thankful that the National broadcaster had come up the week before the match and filmed around the schools, he was disappointed that the Shamrocks were not represented on a live show they did from Coolderry on the Sunday night before the final.
PJ told the Ballymoney Times: “On that show from Coolderry the other three teams who were involved in the St Patrick’s Day finals (Coolderry in the hurling, Crossmaglen and Garrycatle in the football) were represented, but they didn’t think it worthwhile to ask anybody from Loughgiel to go on the show.”
O’Mullan added:“ I found that a bit strange,but when you think on it is probably an indication that they didn’t really rate our chances.”