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We've beaten best to become champions, says jubilant boss McMenamin

 

By Declan Bogue

He may have three Celtic Crosses along with a couple of county titles for Dromore won as a player, but there was no disguising the deep satisfaction Ryan McMenamin derived from leading St Macartan's to this Ulster title.

Asked if it means just as much to win at the ladies' code, he beamed: "It does. Especially when it is the first. It is nice for these girls because they have been knocking on the door in Ulster for years and it is great for the community as well."

Reflecting on a year that was spent with the pedal to the metal in terms of playing with Dromore, managing this group of ladies and joining Rory Gallagher in the Fermanagh management, McMenamin said: "Look, if you want to do anything at all, you have to go full-blooded, even if you are taking an under-14 team, an under-16 team. You have to put in the effort and I am just glad to have put the effort in with these girls."

On the match itself, he explained: "I think it was small margins maybe last year it might have come down to. We missed four one-on-ones against them last year and if we had have got them we would have been well in the game.

"This year, we got our chances early doors and we took them. And it's something we emphasised this week, to take the chances when they came and I am glad the girls listened to me for once!"

He added, "We have beat the best team ever, in my opinion, in ladies' football.

"Donaghmoyne are Donaghmoyne, they are a fantastic team. I have nothing but respect for any team that can reach 14 straight Ulster finals. We expected them to come back and we were just happy to get over the line."

Slaine McCarroll came in for warm praise. "Slaine is a fantastic player," he enthused.

"Shauna McGirr is fantastic. Slaine couldn't make the county squad for the All-Ireland final, wee bit annoyed about it. To me she is the best half-back in Tyrone, I have watched her down through the years and am happy enough to see it."

He continued, "The girls did fantastically. I think there was a stage there we were down, in fact we played most of that second half with 13 players. We knew Donaghmoyne were going to come out strong, they are fantastic champions, with their double All-Ireland.

"But today, I think we knew we were going to beat them today and we were confident we were going to beat them. The first half performance was straight from the training ground. Chris Kelly has been doing great work with them.

"In the second half, we had to dig in. Once we went down to 13 players we had to dig in. But credit to the girls. We didn't want to concede any goals and they got a goal in the last five minutes, but we did enough."

Macartan's now face Connacht champions Cornacon, and the legendary Cora Staunton in the All-Ireland semi-final on November 19th, but there will be a major date just prior to that for the club.

"The girls have a wedding next Saturday," revealed 'Ricey'.

"Catriona McQuaid is getting married next Saturday. We hadn't planned to get this far!

"I will have to sit down and plan with Chris (Kelly), Peter (Hughes), Conor (McCarroll) and Tony Donnelly my mentor (the former Tyrone selector that was also present on the pitch for the jubilant scenes afterward), to see how we are going to go forward from here. But that's for later.

"We will get a pint or two in Dessie's tonight," name-checking the famous Augher bar that was surely rocking on Sunday night as they toasted their breakthrough season.

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