Perfect Christmas gift for Young Irelands

History was made on Saturday afternoon in the Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda as the Dundalk Young Ireland’s became the first Louth team to win a Leinster Junior Final. Adrian Sheekey’s late goal against St Brigid’s from Offaly sealed a tense 2-10 to 2-7 victory for Adrian O’Donoghue’s team to signal the beginning of a weekend of celebrations around Seatown.
The Louth champions certainly did it in style as despite trailing by five points in the final quarter and being reduced to 14-men they hit back in style with a Dermot Mone goal before Aidan Sheekey’s goal in injury-time clinched a dramatic win.
It’s been a remarkable year for the club who also won both the county league and championship ahead of this latest success. It also caps a fine 2018 for manager Adrian O’Donoghue who took over a team low on confidence following relegation into division three in 2017. The day was extra special for O’Donoghue given the fact that his two sons, Cian and Jordan, were part of the winning team.
According to Adrian, Saturday’s victory in the Leinster Final showed that his players are a special group who can be rightfully proud of what they have achieved. He also promised that the journey is not over yet and admitted he is already setting his sights on an All-Ireland Final.
“This truly is an amazing fairytale story,” stated Adrian. “If you said to us this time last year that we would be winning a Leinster Final in a year’s time I don’t think many people would have given you much heed. We were very down last year after an embarrassing year for our club. We lost 16 out of 17 matches and we were the masters of our own downfall. I came in at the start of the year and I said to the lads that they could also be masters of their own destiny but that each and every one of them had to look into the mirror and tell themselves they were willing to do whatever it takes to get the club back to where it belongs.
“I have to say that the group of players we had this year were an absolute credit to both themselves and the club. They sacrificed many things throughout the year to ensure they were available for training and they have got their rewards by winning the league, championship and now the Leinster Final.
“We’ve gone 20 games unbeaten now and there’s a real belief in the squad. We were five points down on the day and it looked bad for us but these boys have shown all through the year that they don’t know when they are beaten. We will celebrate this victory but as I said to the lads this is just an All-Ireland quarter final. We are one game away from making the final and that is what we are looking to do. The journey still has a bit to go yet we hope.
“They did this not only for themselves but for the club and the community. There’s a great bond in our club between players and supporters and it was just fantastic to see so many happy Young Irelanders on Saturday evening. We are a big family at the end of the day and there is nothing better than celebrating victory with your family and friends. This is what makes the GAA so special,” explained Adrian.

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