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Jack back in business for Ballyhaunis


TOP PLAYER Jack Coyne was presented with the man of the match award by Dermot Butler (Secretary, Mayo GAA Board). Pic: Michael Donnelly

Mike Finnerty

ANYBODY who watched Jack Coyne deliver his man of the match performance in last Saturday’s County Intermediate Final will have a fair idea of why Kevin McStay has included him in the new Mayo squad.
The 22 year-old defender was absolutely brilliant from start to finish; turning ball over, breaking the line, carrying ball, and even finding time to drill a superb point.
Afterwards he was equally impressive as he put his thoughts into words.
“It really is a dream come true,” Coyne began as he stood on the pitch at MacHale Park with the man of the match award in his left hand.
“Anybody who knows me, football is my life. It’s just unbelievable to finally get over the line. In 2019, as a young lad just on the scene, to narrowly miss out to The Neale. And then last year, to get even closer against Mayo Gaels.
“It’s just dream come true stuff to get over the line with this group.”
Coyne then reflected on what he and his Ballyhaunis colleagues had learned from the bitter experiences of losing those two County Finals in the space of three seasons.
“You can look at it two ways; you can either pack it in and feel sorry for yourself or look at it for what it really was — a one or two point loss is very little in football,” he explained.
“We have about 38 players and every single one of us is at training, driving it on.
“It’s very easy for me to speak here and say, ‘I got man of the match, I’m great’ but that’s not a true reflection of this group.
“Ronan [Kenny] and Paul [Jordan] treat every one of us as equals.
“We’re all celebrating this as equals, and I think that’s what football is all about.”
The weather conditions had got tougher as the match wore on, driving rain mixed in with a swirling wind, putting everyone on the field under pressure.
Jack Coyne admitted that he was no different.
“In the first half Kilmeena had us pinned in, we couldn’t get out of our own full-back line.
“They had a few shots, on another day they go over and they’re four or five points up at half-time.
“Second half, we had the wind with us but it wasn’t a wind where you could a ball 40 or 50 yards, everything had to go through the hands.
“Patience was a key word we used all year, and I think it was epitomised today in our performance.”
So what ultimately won the match for Ballyhaunis?
“It’s a tricky question to answer right now,” he smiled. “But for me, I’d say it was the hunger.
“After losing two finals, we really didn’t want to lose a third.
“That feeling stuck with me for the year; you’re sick of losing, you want to win.
“That’s why I did every gym session, every running sessions, I want to win.
“We got our just rewards today.”


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