KATE HENNESSY believes St. Patrick’s have the resilience to overcome Tinahely and win that long-awaited Wicklow Senior football title.
icky Dunne’s charges will seek to upset the odds when they meet the champions in Baltinglass this Saturday in a final that represents a David vs Goliath tale pitting the underdogs against a Tinahely team gunning for an eighth county championship on the bounce.
It is the same club that Seamus McClean’s side faced last year, with many of the same players, but is a profoundly different team, as argued by Hennessy. Now under the stewardship of Nicky Dunne, the Pat’s captain said that they are playing with a rejuvenated pep in their step and are up for the challenge that awaits them.
“The team is looking really well. Everybody is really excited for the weekend. Obviously, there is a lot of talk in the run up to things, but for the next seven days, we are focused on the training and making sure we are fully prepared for the day. Everybody is excited to be back here again.
“We have come up against them in the past. TInahely are an unbelievable team but we showed in the past that, when we are resilient, we can come out on top against them so that’s what the focus is going to be this Saturday.
“If I am being honest, I think the atmosphere is completely different. This year, our focus was primarily to enjoy football again. We have a lot of girls back playing and we really focused on enjoying this year. It is a bonus and a testament to the work we have put in and it has come down to enjoyment that we have come out into the final again this year.
“It’s a whole new team and a whole new attitude.”
Whereas TInahely booked their place in yet another final via a rampant win over Blessington in the semi-finals, St. Pat’s route to the decider was more one of attrition.
A pulsating victory over Blessington on the opening day was followed by wins over Baltinglass and, finally, Bray Emmets in the semi-final. That latter triumph came by a single point and required every essence of that togetherness which has defined this Pat’s team.
“I think after the semi-final, we have had a nice week of enjoying the atmosphere in the run up but for the next few days, it’s going to be about the team and management and what we can do internally.
“There is a lot to work on. I think we just wanted to go out and see how far we could get this year. The semi-final showed strong points but it also showed that there is a lot to work on, but the last few minutes really showed, as a team, how much we can come together and push through. It reflected how hard we worked this year, to dig deep in the last few minutes and get through to the final again.”
Pat’s have been to this stage before. Their defeat to TInahely in last year’s final came after they had beaten them in the league, a result the planted a seed of doubt that was uncompromisingly weeded out by the champions.
Nonetheless, Hennessy remains bullish about Pat’s chances. The logic dictates that, if they beat them before, there is no reason they won’t be able to do so again, only this time in an earth-shaking, odds-shattering, history-making way.
“There is a group of us who have come up against Tinahely a couple of times in the past and it has definitely been disappointment on the day that it didn’t go our way. Hopefully, this year, things can change. We will bring a whole new attitude and whole different team and we will see what happens on the day.
“They are always going to put it up against us. They are a good team as I said before, but I think we have shown in the past that we are well able to manage what they put up against us. We have a couple of wins over them in the last two years, so it just depends on what happens on the day.”