By Alan Rodgers
ONE moment in time transformed the prospects for the Tyrone camogs as they turned an imminent defeat into the kind of victory which has the potential to catapult the sport to new heights.
It was that second of brilliance right at the end which made the difference in sealing the 3-10 to 3-9 win over Wicklow at Inniskeen on Saturday. Sally McCann’s last gasp goal ensured that it was Aine McNulty who received the Nancy Murray Cup instead of her Garden county counterpart.
The Naomh Treasa Dungannon player struck the perfect chord, too, when she spoke of the inspiration provided by the late Eoghan Ruadh hurler, Damian Casey. Her comments were poignant and important in a year which has seen both the hurlers and camogs win their respective championship titles.
“Damian was an unbelievable hurler, probably the greatest that Tyrone has ever produced. It just felt it was the right thing to do to give him that credit,” she said.
“This was our third year to be in the final and not having made it. From talking to the girls it was just heartbreaking and that was our aim here to go and win the title and finally make that breakthrough.
“Every game means a lot and gives you the opportunity to learn so much. We played Wicklow twice already this year and in the game in the round-robin stages of this it was point for point right up until the very end. We learned from that game not to give up because we had conceded a goal and a point in the last few minutes.
“It was a big thing for us to just keeping going at it in the final and thankfully things worked out.”
Under the management of Declan Sherlock, Tyrone have been making a big effort throughout this year. That all paid a rich dividend in the win over Wicklow which means that the Red Hand girls can now look forward to competing in the All-Ireland Premier Junior championship in 2023.
In the meantime, they can reflect wioth a lot of positivity and satisfaction on this success- a first for the county since away back in 1982 when a team which had reached the All-Ireland Junior Final in 1980 won the National League.
“Our whole management team have put in such a huge effort, working behind the scenes organising the training around club training and games,” she added.
“The clubs aren’t just playing in the Tyrone Leagues, but in Derry and Anrmagh leagues. It can be tough to get all the players together at the one time, and then to organise training and buses and so on takes a lot of effort.
“There was a good representative of clubs on the panel. A few others have been set-up in the past few years and the future does seem bright.
“It’s great to have all those clubs to be having players coming through and aspiring to play at this level and keep the momentum going.
“We’ve got to move on and forward now. Our next target will be to compete in the Junior Premier. Teams who have won the Nancy Murray in the past have gone on and won the Junior title and that has to be our aim now.”