The winning captain said he never doubted his team
HOW many captains have you seen in recent years who have a speech written out in advance? Very few. Most don’t want to tempt fate or take their eye off the game but Davitts’ Michael Conroy showed a refreshing confidence on Sunday.
He had a few notes prepared and his speech was reflective of his performance — assured and confident. He expected Davitts to win.
“To be honest, we didn’t think we were going to lose it,” he told The Mayo News outside the Davitts’ dressing room afterwards.
“We came, we saw, we conquered. I know it’s Burrishoole and it’s tough, and they were there last year, but we’re not going to lie down just because they were there last year.
“It’s brilliant,” he added. “You don’t realise what this is going to do for our club. We were unlucky in the Under 21, the minors got us off to a great start, and we took it from there.”
Conroy made a point in his speech of saying how Davitts have a reputation for tough, sometimes dirty, football but Sunday proved how nice a brand of football the border side can play too. This year their efforts and their discipline matched their talent.
“I’m playing with that team ten years, I’m 26 now, I started at 16,” said Conroy. “Every year we’ve been either championship favourites, or close to it, but never done the business. Pete Warren came in, changed things around, and today we got our just rewards.
“We always had the players, of that there was no question. It was just to get it together.
“He [Warren] brought in discipline, training was fresh, he brought in two selectors, he had team meetings before games, stuff lads had never seen. He gave a little belief.
“We started off and won the O’Mara Cup, then we got going with the Michael Walsh League and beat Burrishoole, and we had that tiny edge on them going into today. We weren’t afraid. There’s no man in that dressing room afraid of anybody, we don’t mind who we’re playing.”
As captain, Conroy won the toss before the game and chose to play with the wind. Despite a very tense second half, that decision proved to be a correct one as Davitts stormed into a seven point half-time lead.
It was the key platform for their breakthrough and what it meant to them was readily apparent after the game.
“We got together on the tenth of January,” remarked Michael Conroy. “You train to win trophies and we’ve won three so far. We’re top of the league and if we beat Kiltimagh we go up to senior, so it has probably been the best year in 30 years for us.
“We trained hard, we made massive sacrifices. I know for a fact, and I can give you this stat, I’ve been out about three times in five months. A lot of lads wouldn’t have many more drinking sessions done.
“The quarter-final was a big game for us, we hadn’t got over the quarter-final since 2004. We got to the semi-final so that was a big game. Then we hadn’t been in a final in 30 years so we kind of built on that.
“Today’s brilliant,“ he smiled. “We had a reputation down through the years for being tough and rugged and, maybe at times dirty but we can play football too and we showed it today.”