Burren deny Kilcoo their seventh consecutive Down county title
Morgan Fuels Down Senior Football Championship final: St Mary’s, Burren 2-12 Eoghan Rua, Kilcoo 2-9
ALL-IRELAND titles with club and county, Ulsters too right through the age grades, you’d go far to find a man more decorated than Paddy O’Rourke – yet the Burren boss ranks yesterday’s Down final victory over Kilcoo up there with any of them.
As quiet and unassuming a figure as he was in his playing pomp, when O’Rourke was part of Burren’s
all-conquering team of the Eighties before leading Down to the All-Ireland title in 1991, the wide grin on his face told you exactly what this meant to him.
And after making the short journey back to the dressing room, the reception received showed exactly what he meant to this group of Burren players – several of whom had suffered defeat to Kilcoo in three of the last six Down finals.
The door had barely opened a couple of inches before O’Rourke was pulled inside to the loudest cheer of the day as the St Mary’s got ready to take the Frank O’Hare Cup up the road for the first time in seven years.
“Personally it feels as good as anything to me,” he said, reflecting on yesterday’s three point victory.
“I was conscious of the fact the club hadn’t got over the line for five or six years with a very talented group of players, and some players have gone away.
“We have lost players where I think they got fed up getting beat.
“As a club we are very driven with a good support base and it is so important to them.
“To lose so many is difficult for them. So to win this today, really for the club and the players means an awful lot to me because I know how important it is.”
Two second half goals from Donal O’Hare, one a penalty, proved the difference as Burren turned the screw, and O’Rourke was quick to praise the lethal forward.
“He was very good. He has come back from a fairly serious injury to be where he is today and at one stage we didn’t think we would have him for the championship at all.
“Donal led from the front with his work-rate.
“If a forward doesn’t work hard, he doesn’t have everything in his pocket, but once he does that his class shines out in the end.”
It was a disappointing day for Kilcoo boss Paul McIver, however, as the Magpies came up short in their bid to move out on their own as the only club in Down to win seven championships in-a-row.
And the Derry man admitted a long injury list had finally taken its toll.
He said: “We had five county players missing and that is some hole in anybody’s team.
“The boys that have stepped in have been amazing, but we were just missing that wee bit extra.
“But great credit to Burren, they were exceptional today.
“They had been beaten in finals and that hurt has spurred them on and everybody deserves their day in the sun and today was Burren’s day.”