Longford Slashers manager Denis Connerton has hailed his players ahead of their fourth county final in a row.
Connerton has been at the helm during that time and couldn’t praise them highly enough. “This group of players are exceptional. They are very unique; they are so disciplined, so ambitious and so determined. I have been privileged to come across a bunch of players like that,” he told the Leader.
After losing last year’s title decider Connerton admitted the aim this year was to get to the final and then take it from there: “We sat down as a group in March and we spoke as a group and our aim was to get to the county final. Not to win it, to get to it. Now we are in it, of course we will try and do something about winning it.”
It shows the character of Slashers to bounce back this year and book a place in Sunday’s decider. Connerton admitted it was hard to get going at the start: “Last year was exhausting for the players. It knocked so much out of them. We really left a lot on the pitch in the replay against Killoe. Coming back this year, it’s hard to get that bit of life back into it again. We are not playing particularly well but we have worked hard and are back in a county final. We are just delighted to be there.”
After two tough games against Colmcille in the semi-final Connerton was relieved that his side were able to grind out a narrow win in the replay. The performances weren’t pretty but Slashers got the vital win.
“There were times against Colmcille in both games I actually thought we were going out of the championship” the Lanesboro man admitted. “I felt we were very nervous. We have had a difficult experience with injuries this season and have lost a lot of players that would have been part of our first team.
But the other members of the squad just work and work; even when they are not playing well they hang in and get the vital scores.”
Just like in 2010 Connerton’s former side Dromard stand in his way of claiming glory with Slashers. Although he didn’t get to see much of their semi-final he knows all too well what Dromard have to offer: “Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of them against Abbeylara. What I do know about Dromard is that they have got exceptional forwards, the best set of forwards in the county, and their squad is strong overall.”
He believes both sides are evenly matched and there will be nothing between them on Sunday. He hopes Slashers can put in a good performance: “It’s a hard final to predict the outcome. It doesn’t matter who is favourites; it’s all about on the day.
It’s very hard to perform to your ultimate in a county final. Perfection is a dream and it doesn’t exist. While you are in pursuit of perfection, gaining it is something else. What we will be hoping to do is to be as good as we possibly can in the final.”