RED HUGH’S LEFT the stage yesterday of the All-Ireland JFC having been defeated at the semi-final stage.
The side from Killygordon were defeated 1-8 to 0-9 by the Sligo and Connacht champions Easkey in the somewhat marshy and overgrown surroundings of Ballinamore, Co Leitrim.
“I think in a month’s time we will reflect very proudly on the whole thing, but right now we are gutted,” the Red Hugh’s manager, Seosamh MacCeallabhui, said afterwards.
MacCeallabhui had voiced his concerns over the state of the pitch beforehand and revealed afterwards those feelings were also on board with their opponents and their manager.
“I met Dessie Sloyan before the game and he’s an absolute gentleman,” MacCeallabhui added. “We had a great discussion about how rubbish the pitch looked and how terrible it was that they weren’t willing to cut the grass.
“It was always my belief that they didn’t want it cut, but he said he was pleading with them too to cut the grass.”
A goal by Easkey’s James Lindsay midway through the second half ultimately proved to be the difference between the teams.
Beforehand, Red Hugh’s had gone in at the break four points in arrears, 0-7 to 0-3, but having scored the opening two points of the second half through Damien Browne and Odhran Doherty might’ve thought their forte of climbing their way back into contests was about to unravel again.
The Easkey goal, though, put five between them and as things evened off then until the closing stages – where Red Hugh’s fired over the last three points of the match – it meant the goose was cooked.
“It was a killer,” MacCeallabhui said of the goal. “We had missed the couple of opportunities, and the ball goes in and breaks. I’ll be truthful, I think really what happens is the wee touch of luck that they got for their goal, we managed to have all the way along.
“It just went against us today. If we got the two points down here, I think we probably have a different conversation.”
Despite that, Red Hugh’s had a season to savour, with both the Donegal and Ulster JFC crowns clinched – adding to the success of Naomh Colmcille in the same competitions 12 months ago.
“People are very proud of their parishes and that’s the great thing about the GAA – it brings us all out and gets us all excited for a while,” he added.
“I suppose when we reflect back, it was huge for us to win Ulster after winning Donegal.
“Really Donegal was the thing we were after all along because we had left it behind us so often.
“It was brilliant to win Ulster and then it was incredible to beat Dunedin, really when we were very lucky that day.It would have been nice to go to Croke Park, there’s no point in saying anything different. It would have been nice.”