Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Down hurlers deserved Christy Ring success

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

It only took a second for Weeshie Fogarty's mood to fall through the floor.

The veteran radio broadcaster was in the process of welcoming the Christy Ring Cup to his native Kerry for the second time in three years when Down hurler Paul Braniff fought for dirty ball.

Delivering it long into Gareth 'Magic' Johnston, the ball was lost in the skies by practically everyone.

Perhaps it brushed off a hurl or Magic's hand. Nobody can say with any certainty from the television pictures. But it doesn't matter. All that matters was that it nestled in the net and Down were in the lead in the closing seconds.

The Christy Ring would be heading straight for the Ards Peninsula instead. Weeshie wailed across the Radio Kerry airwaves that his boys had been robbed.

But nobody ever robbed Down of anything when it comes to hurling. To consider the work that manager Ger Monan has put in with his team, that could never be said.

Last year they lost an Ulster Championship game to Armagh but Monan never lost the faith. Instead he retained his job and spiced up the backroom team with Waterford legend Paul Flynn.

Magic returned from Australia and Paul Braniff was going to be there for another season.

On Saturday, they all got their reward with glory in Croke Park, black and red flags flying once again before a long night of celebration in Portaferry. Redemption for everybody.

Sometimes, people get what they deserve in sport. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of lads.

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