Having passed what manager Stan Murray-Hession looked ahead to as their “toughest test yet” when they beat Munster champions Modeligo at Páirc na hÉireann last week, Fullen Gaels will bid to reach Croke Park for the second time in three years when they take on Castleblayney of Monaghan, the Ulster champions.
Minutes after seeing his team dump Modeligo out of the championship, Stan was full of credit for his team but also stated they could take nothing for granted.
Speaking directly after his team’s deserved victory, Stan told The Irish World: “When you look at the way the fellas performed, you couldn’t ask for more than that.”
When being 60 minutes from Croke Park is mentioned, Stan said: “We’re 60 minutes away from losing an All-Ireland semi-final as well. We lost one last year so we certainly have no intention of taking anything for granted.
“We were good today but that’s done now. We can’t dine out on that one and we could conceivably end up in a situation where we find ourselves missing out on an All-Ireland final again. We have to just park today and concentrate on the next day.”
Vincent Morrissey was the two goal hero in Fullen Gaels’ impressive win over the Munster champions who had blazed through Munster racking some massive scores including a 5-12 to 0-14 win over Castlemartyr in the provincial final. Morrissey’s first strike off the ground put the Gaels into a lead that they would not surrender for the remainder of the game while Morrissey’s second goal, in the second period, put his team even more firmly in the driving seat. Liam Knocker provided the brilliant pass for this goal.
The match was not without nervous moments for those following the Lancashire team as Fullen Gaels faced two late 20 yard frees. It was surprising that neither of these troubled the goal but withstanding the late onslaught indicates that Murray-Hession’s team definitely have the nerve that is required at this level.
On the tense finale, Stan said: “You don’t know how long is left and you just have to trust and have faith in the men that are on the field and they were absolutely brilliant today: The hunger and the passion and the fight that they showed was absolutely magnificent. You just couldn’t ask for more than they gave. It was a fantastic performance.
“I thought our backs were unbelievable. I thought they just fought for everything. They gave everything they could give. Every single one of the boys, I was so proud of the performance and I guess that’s what ultimately led to us getting over the line.
“We’re on the road five years. Some of the lads have probably played in two or three or even four All-Ireland quarter finals at this stage. That bit of experience, you can’t buy it. But it’s no good to us if we don’t win the All-Ireland semi-final.”
For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World – out now.