After an absence of 17 years Killoe Young Emmets are back in a County Senior Final and manager Tommy McCormack is delighted and knows what it means to the club to finally get back on the big stage after a long absence.
“We have had some good teams and some good players that have passed through in those 17 years and they didn’t achieve the ultimate; getting to a county senior final. This current team have been successful at underage level. They have a winning mentality and playing second fiddle to anybody doesn’t come into it,” he told the Leader.
Killoe are an up and coming talented young team and some of their performances in the championship this year certainly belied their age. Their manager is delighted with the way they have matured over the last while: “They are a very young squad. Some of them have experience beyond their years and they have played a lot of football. They were also on winning under-age teams down through the years. Thus the big occasion should not affect them and that’s a factor that pleases me.”
McCormack admitted that they had no real aim at the start of the season; it was a case of getting a squad together and then taking each game as they came: “In the early stages of the year we were focussed on getting a settled team together and there was a lot of young talent around. To win the title; we didn’t even think about that to tell the truth. We still don’t. We took each game as it came as part of the overall progression.”
In the league phase of the Championship Killoe were in outstanding form and won their games comprehensively. When they got to the knock-out stages they were given tough games by Abbeylara and then Dromard in the semi-final that went to a replay. McCormack knows how things change in football when you reach the business end of the championship: “When you come into Pearse Park things change and teams transform. Our lads have had tough games against Abbeylara and Dromard and it’s given them a different view on things.”
Now that they have reached the county final Killoe aren’t there to make up the numbers. They would like nothing more than to stop their neighbours from claiming a third senior championship title in a row. Tommy McCormack is wise enough to know that his side will have to put in a fantastic performance if they are to claim the Connolly Cup for the first time in 17 years. “It would be a great achievement if we were to beat Slashers. Our boys don’t have the same sort of vast experience as our final opponents but hopefully on Sunday the last three difficult games will have stood to us. We will just have to wait and see what happens.”