What they said … the weekend in quotes

December 14, 2020

Antrim's Conor McCann lifts the Joe McDonagh Cup. ©INPHO/James Crombie.

"I found it incredibly hard during lockdown to keep the training going. There was no light at the end of the tunnel and we didn’t know if the championship was going to go ahead. There were ifs and buts and the one thing that kept me going was ‘imagine winning an All-Ireland at Christmas time, how good Christmas would be’, so I’m going to look forward to the next few weeks.”

If anyone deserves to enjoy the celebrations, it’s Man of the Match Gearoid Hegarty.

"We need everybody to be there when we do come back with the cup in March or April when the vaccine has been rolled out and we'll get everybody into the Gaelic Grounds and we'll have one hell of a party."

John Kiely made a promise to Limerick's absent fans shortly after the final whistle.

"My initial reaction would be that it’s not good, for a man who has tried unbelievably hard to get back into the shape he was in, the way he was having a cruciate knee ligament already last year and I hope tomorrow we find out it’s not too drastic, but I would have my concerns."

Fingers crossed the injury sustained by Tadhg De Burca is not as bad as his manager Liam Cahill fears.

"You have to try and create your own bit of energy off each other on the field and it was great that we got the extended panel players in yesterday because you could genuinely hear them in the stands when you got a score or did something well. That kind of gave a boost to us as players and built our own little atmosphere.”

It was a 36-man squad effort as far as Limerick’s ‘keeper Nickie Quaid was concerned.

“We started back this year and some girls didn’t know whether they would come back. How could they face it again? A few long conversations with girls and they came back. I am so proud of them girls, the heartache they have gone through. I am over the moon now.”

Perseverance paid off for Brian Dowling and the Kilkenny camogie team.

“In fairness to them, they were the better team.”

Dowling’s Galway counterpart Paudie Murray was magnanimous in defeat.

“We knew it wasn't going to be easy. I was delighted we got to dog it out. We did enough at the end, I know you might look at our last quarter and it wasn't spectacular and it wasn't the showcase that people are looking for, but it was enough for me. Once we have that cup, I'm delighted.”

Antrim hurling is on an upward curve under the guidance of former Tipp netminder Darren Gleeson.

"We're going to be proud to return to the Leinster Championship next year and competing with the so-called 'big teams'."

Victorious Saffrons captain Conor McCann is relishing the challenge that lies ahead in 2021.

“Imagine Casement Park full for a big game against one of the bigger teams, but I don't want to be patronising towards them, that performance today would suggest that they are going to struggle next year.”

RTE analyst Donal Og Cusack is delighted to see Antrim back in the big time but believes they need to improve on yesterday’s Joe McDonagh Cup final display if they are to be competitive.

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