Maher: Spirit the key for cool Crokes
rEACTION: Dublin mHl1 FINAL (2014)
Kilmacud Crokes selector Collie Maher paid tribute to the fighting spirit of his charges following their capture of the Dublin Minor Hurling League Division 1 (2014) title last Friday evening in O'Toole Park.
A disappointing opening 20 minutes of the second-half looked to have put paid to their chances but Crokes finished in the ascendancy to complete an excellent late comeback.
"It is very pleasing when any team that you are in charge of finishes the game well and given that the significance of the game was diluted a bit due to all the players missing, it might have been easy just to accept the defeat and move on from there.
"However, the lads showed that they really wanted the win and I think in some ways, we probably had more to play for than Na Fianna, especially after they beat us in the county final.
"It is fantastic when a team doesn't give up and although it looked like it was going against us, we got a small bit of luck with the winning goal and withstood a bit of late pressure to hold on at the end," said Maher.
What significance the two point win (3-14 to 1-18) will have for the current season is debatable but Kilmacud will be happy with the qualities that served them well last Friday.
With ten players still eligible at minor level at present, Maher is reluctant to read too much into the win but was happy with what he witnessed nonetheless against a team that he rates highly.
"Naturally, we were very happy to get the win," he said.
"It was a good run out for the lads and probably had more relevance than a tough challenge game but really we can't take too much from the game, especially with Na Fianna missing so many of their regulars.
"Having said that, for some players, it was great to end their minor years with a league title and I was delighted for Des Dagg, who missed all the championship last year with a hand injury.
"We certainly wouldn't be getting carried away with the result and I don't think beating Na Fianna will carry any psychological edge when the championship kicks off in September. They will be a different prospect at that time and they were missing a bunch of serious players the other night.
"They are certainly the best minor club team that I have ever seen and we have huge respect in Kilmacud for what they have achieved down the years as we have experienced some great battles with them," added Maher.