The crowd may have been a lot smaller but none of the four football titles won by the club will have been celebrated as lustily as Manorhamilton’s Senior Hurling Championship victory last Saturday, a fact quickly acknowledged by Man of the Match Michael Poniard.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” Michael told the Observer, “Hurling in Leitrim, I know people mightn’t think it is up to much but for Manor and that group of lads, they put in a huge effort and they are very, very dedicated. It is nice to have a Cup for the Dinner Dance in December, at least we have one Cup to celebrate.
“It is great after that disappointment, there are a number of dual players and it is good to lift the Club after the disappointment of the football.”
Manor’s victory was down to several factors according to Michael – “We came very close last year and I really thought that was our chance when we got Carrick out of the way and we fell at the final hurdle. To come back and win it in that manner as well was very, very satisfying.
“A lot of our club hurlers have got experience this year with the county and I think that stood to them, there were 15 lads who have been hurling since January and when push comes to shove, that really counts.
“They were sure of their touch, their stick-work was good, their fitness was good. In previous years, we had maybe myself and David, Steve Feeney and Micheal Dolan with the County but this year we had ten lads up training with the county and I think that stood to us at the end.
“We had a really strong panel and probably for the first time in years, this was a team you had to work really hard to get on to, you weren’t sure of your place by just turning up. I think that counted for a lot.”
Michael paid tribute to Carrick for their part in a stirring encounter – “Carrick really put us to the pin of our collar and Clement Cunniffe put on a performance out there, single-handedly, he had us under the cosh. But we showed a good bit of heart and a good bit of bottle to battle through.
“We got a great start and in fairness, we were hurling like Kilkenny at that stage. Everything was just running for us, the ball was going over the bar and Niall took a brilliant goal, took it really, really well.
“You could see the lads had been training, their touch was sure, they were composed on the ball and it was working for us but inevitably, Carrick got their spell and they came back at us. We toughed it out but midway through the second half, Carrick were looking good and if somebody had to call, they probably would have said Carrick were going to come through.”