Terence McNaughton blown away with dramatic penalty shoot-out
Naomh Eanna manager Terence McNaughton has described his side's dramatic penalty shoot-out win in the Ulster Club IHC final as ‘car crash stuff'.
The Glengormley men defeated Eoghan Ruadh of Dungannon 1-0 on penalties to claim the title at Celtic Park, with goalkeepers Martin Curran and John Devlin pulling off a string of brilliant saves.
McNaughton revealed that he hadn't contemplated such a climax to the title decider, and did not prepare for a sudden-death scenario.
“I've never witnessed anything like it, I've never experienced anything like that,” he said.
“I wasn't even sure what was going to happen after extra-time - it wasn't something we'd spoken about.
“We had to pick five boys to take penalties - it was car crash stuff. Everybody says it is no way to lose, I don't know, I don't make the rules.
“But it was a good game of hurling and a good advertisement for hurling.”
The ecstasy of triumph cut a sharp contrast with the despair felt by the Eoghan Ruadh players.
They had given everything in an epic final that finished level on 2-14 each at the end of normal time, and remained deadlocked on 2-20 to 2-20 after the teams had battled through extra-time.
“I feel for Dungannon, I do. I'd hate to lose a game like that,” said McNaughton.
“As a GAA man and as a hurler, I have to feel sorry for Dungannon. I know it is great for St Enda's, but I'd hate to lose a game like that.
“The effort they put in - I know what the Dungannon club do. They drive up to the Glens of Antrim for games and they bring juvenile teams with them. They are trying to promote hurling in Tyrone which isn't the easiest thing in the world to do.”
The Glengormley men trailed by seven points at half-time, but there was no sense of panic in the dressing room, which exuded a calm sense of confidence that they could turn the game around.
And with the help of a Ruairi Donaghy goal, they clawed their way back.
“Honestly, the changing room was alright at half-time. We'd been behind before and, as you stand here now, there's a fair breeze. That's a four or five-point breeze.
“I was happy enough and I knew we'd come good. We missed a wild lot of scores, but that's just inexperience.
“They showed great character and this team doesn't know when they are beat, even going back to the Creggan game.”
The Antrim champions had chances to seal victory in the closing stages of normal time, but a handful of efforts sailed wide of the posts after John McGoldrick had nailed the equaliser.
“In games like that, you are going to get mistakes,” McNaughton said.
“They made mistakes and we were making mistakes. We had to keep the heads- we aren't Ballyhale. It's Intermediate hurling, the reason it is Intermediate hurling is because people make mistakes.
“These fellas train hard and the one thing I'm proud of is that they've changed - they know how to win dirty now.
“They are committed and it is great for St Enda' s and it is great for Antrim.”
With their first provincial title in the bag, a new adventure awaits in the New Year as Naomh Eanna prepare for a crack at the All-Ireland title.
“I asked them before the match to ruin Christmas for me. I said I want to be training over Christmas. I said I want you to ruin all your family Christmases, go out and ruin Christmas and they did.”