Challenge now for Lachtain’s to drive on

The reaction:

The reaction:

Michael Kavanagh, St Lachtain’s selector: “That was a great win. We are thrill. It is 1977 since we last won the under-21 title. This group has been close at minor level for the last few years. We were in three minor A semi-finals. It is great for them to come through and win.

“The under-21 championship is very open. Over the last few years St Patrick’s and Mooncoin have won it. At the start of the campaign we might not have been favoured by many, but we knew we had a great chance. There is great work being done at under-age level in the club.

“The players have a terrific attitude. They are easy to manage. It is a good start to the year for Freshford. Hopefully we can push on at intermediate level this season now. To win a championship boosts the morale for everyone.

“These lads have had their disappointments, but today they showed real character. Mullinavat came at us strongly in the second half and we really had to pull out all the stops in the closing 10 minutes. It was a great game with good scoring from both sides.

“The A championship titles are not easily come by. The players are young. They are all under-age next year, but there are no guarantees about what that might bring. We will enjoy this one. It is a great boost. It is not easy to win a championship in Kilkenny, so we are delighted.”

Ollie O’Connor, selector: “That was a powerful win. We scored two goals from frees in the first half and that gave us a good cushion at half-time. Mullinavat are a big, strong team. We knew they could come back at us, and by golly they did.

“We were under heavy pressure in the second half, and Shane Donnelly’s late point was crucial because it gave us a two point cushion. People talk about having to play hurling at this time of year, but this was a county final and all the players were really up for it.

“That was a brilliant advertisement for under-21 hurling. There was a big crowd and a great atmosphere. Forget about the time of year. That game was a credit to Mullinavat and St Lachtain’s. It was super.

“We want to drive on now. It is important for us to build on this success. The victory will give everyone in the club a lift, officials as well as players.”

Jimmy Meagher, St Lachtain’s trainer/selector: “That wins was huge for the club, unbelievable. You work for moments like when the final whistle sounded and we were champions. It was a great feeling.

“To win anything in Kilkenny is tough, at any level, but to win a Roinn A title makes a massive statement. Fair play to the players! Mullinavat came at them big time in the second half but they survived.

“The one thing our players showed all year was character. Kav has been on to them and on to them that when things are going against you, keep at it. You can turn it. When the difference was down to a point at the finish they kept at it, and they sneaked over the line.

“We were delighted to get through. This could be a platform to go on to bigger things. Back in 1992 when we won the Roinn B under-21 we went on to win the junior title. You don’t mind hurling when you are winning. For our club, this was a super way to kick off season 2013.

“It will be a lot easier for everyone in the club to go back training knowing that there are 28 young lads in the club with Roinn A under-21 winners’ medals. We have great players coming through. Our entire panel is under-age again next year. Winning breeds confidence. Now the big challenge is to build on this success.”