Hurling and camogie

Big Joe Boyle and Burt's gladiators slay champions Setanta

Gerry McLaughlin

Big Joe Boyle is one of Burt's greatest gladiators.

And even though this is his 10th county championship, it is the “sweetest” as he told The Irish News in the midst of wild scenes of jubilation in O'Donnell Park.

His club had not taken a title since 2015, which is a long time by their standards.

But all the recent disappointments were swept aside as hordes of fans saluted their hurling heroes after brave 13-man Setanta showed why they are great champions too.

Boyle was immense all through and also weighed in with two important well-struck points at crucial periods: “It is a great win and unreal.

“I have won 10 titles now and I will tell you one thing, that is definitely the sweetest of the lot.”

And when told they were helped by Setanta losing two men, he replied: “We know all about that when we went down to 13 men when we were going for 16-in-a-row county titles.

“These thing come in roundabouts but we just knew at half-time that they would be coming back at us.

“They had nothing to lose but this is just great for our club today and how many times were we written off by everybody?

“Everybody, so it's great to win it again and to bring young boys into the team all home-grown boys as well.”

But it was elder statesmen like marksman Niall McCann and player manager Mickey McCann and Ciaran Dowds that saw them through.

McCann's clever pass to Campbell ended with Ronan McDermott in space inside the Setanta defence before shooting the goal that knocked out a fighting Setanta.

“Those boys are unreal and words just don't describe those boys coming on and Ciaran Dowds as well made a difference,'' added Boyle.

“We are a very lucky club to have those boys and long may it continue. Niall is 38 and you still would not want to mark him in training.

“It is just brilliant”.

So it is onwards and upwards for Burt with Boyle stating that they did not look past this match but they will enjoy the night and then get back to business on Tuesday night.

And he paid tribute to Setanta star and man of the match Declan Coulter: “Declan is a very good player and we know what he is all about and is a quality hurler.

“And he never puts the head down, he just keeps going.”

Just like Joe Boyle another true gladiator who contributed to one of the most enthralling second halves this correspondent has seen in 30 years covering hurling.

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Hurling and camogie

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