The signs might have said Billy’s winning matches but the man himself was deflecting the credit last Sunday evening in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada as Melvin Gaels manager Billy Gavigan insisted that the success of Melvin Gaels was down to the players and not his input.
Relegated just two years ago, the Kinlough men have been reborn under the leadership of the former Bundoran player and manager but Billy pointed to the dedication of the players rather than any inspiration he might have provided.
“I’m delighted, delighted for the players,” Billy told the Observer, “They deserve it, they put the work in all year. It came together in about June, July when the Senior players came back from the county and we never looked back after that.
“We had a few wee hiccups here and there. They put their heads down in training and worked hard as a group and fair play to them.
“I just put them in the right direction, the experience I had from managing before and play. I just put them in the right direction and they never looked back. The players have to do the work, they were willing to do it, they were willing to die for each other so they were.
“You can only take a small, small bit of credit for the management because the players done the work for themselves.”
Looking back on the match, Billy felt that Melvin Gaels were the better side but agreed that until Jesse McGuinness got the game’s second goal, the Final was still very much in the balance – “We were the better team over the whole game but we did do stupid things in the first half.
“We kicked balls from corner-flags, trying to put them over the bar. Our full-forward line moved out when they were supposed to stay in near the goal and until that last goal went in, it could have went any way.
“They got back into the game, a few soft frees which I though the referee gave, I did honestly think they were soft frees and we didn’t get a few frees but overall, we didn’t care as long as we won by a point.
They had big momentum going for them but luckily, the few changes we made worked out for us and it stopped them.
“Peter McGowan scored a big point that settled us down a bit and then Jesse came in and in two games, he’s not kicked a ball but he has scored two goal, that’s a major achievement. But it is all the team, it takes 20 players, different players at different times.”
The loss of David McSharry in the first half was a big blow for Melvin Gaels and the manager felt for his captain – “David was a big loss, he was flying at the time, winning all the balls going in to him. He’ll be out for a while because he dislocated the knee but a few drinks tonight and he mightn’t feel nothing! Once you’re winning, there is never pain. It is when you are losing the pain is there.”
As for the future, Billy promised to give the Connacht Club campaign a real go - “There is a League, the Connacht Club is all bonus. To win your own County League and championship is a big achievement and the Shield is there too.
“It is all about your own area first and if you win that first, that is where the confidence comes in. But we’ll give Connacht a fair rattle, we’ll not be wanting on the day, the boys will give it 100% and I can’t ask for any more from them.”