Family ties help Knocknagree to famous victory
By John Harrington
Newly crowned AIB All-Ireland Club Junior Football Champions, Knocknagree, are a living embodiment of the slogan ‘Club is Family’.
The Cork club played superbly in their All-Ireland Final victory over Multyfarnham of Westmeath on Saturday, and after the match their team manager John Fintan Daly paid tribute to role familial bonds had to play in their success.
“I'd two sons playing, I'd one playing at wing-back and at inside forward,” said an emotional Daly after the match.
“They're all like my family. This whole group are my family and it's not just my own boys because within 500 metres of our house, 13 of the panel, four families all playing together. Most of them are related so it's fantastic.”
Knocknagree played some wonderful football on the way to their 3-13 to 3-9 victory over Multyfarnham in Croke Park.
Daly has a long track record of success as a coach, and his finger-prints were all over the tactically astute and adventurous performance his players produced.
“It's not my first time here at club level with a football team in the All-Ireland club final,” said Daly.
“What a wonder (competition), it's the greatest thing the GAA has ever done for its clubs.
“I was here six years ago with a lovely club Milltown-Castlemaine, we won the intermediate All-Ireland.
“I'm here now with my home club Knocknagree which is on the border of Kerry and the parish of Rathmore which is almost in the county of Kerry.
“We're after winning the junior, from a personal point of view winning the junior intermediate double it doesn't come much better.
“I'm absolutely delighted, they're a great group of lads. We've 32 on the panel, 28 played championship. Two of our best players went into today with pain killing injections, Eoghan McSweeney and Danny Cooper, weren't at their best but they gave their all for the club and the team.
“We're a very small club, 600 people in our parish, right on the county bounds. We live and die for our team and our club.
“It's game number 45, we've only been beaten four times and it's a wonderful achievement because Cork haven't been doing it in football.
“I'm a football analyst myself with local radio in Cork, so I've seen Cork come here so often and lose, so it's a wonderful feeling.”