Cathair Dhoire has been a success despite final defeat - McCullagh

St Patrick's Bramdon Boyd takes on Conor McLaughlin of Cathair Dhoire in the Athletic Grounds on Monday.
St Patrick's Bramdon Boyd takes on Conor McLaughlin of Cathair Dhoire in the Athletic Grounds on Monday.

Michael McCullagh hailed the inaugural year of Cathair Dhoire a success despite the bitter disappointment of the Mac Larnon Cup final defeat to Downpatrick school St. Patrick's Grammar.

The Lumen Christi teacher said the project had been a superb addition to the Derry City GAA and backed it to continue to grow.

“Success is probably generally measured in terms of the cup that you pick up at the end of the year, but for us success was exposing these boys to a higher level of football, and we achieved that," explained the Watty graham's club man.

"We got them out on a MacLarnon final day, and that’s something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. Some of these boys are definitely going on to bigger and better things. Today will stand to them and help build not only their footballing ability, but their character as well. It has been a great year, and it’s just disappointing in the aftermath when you don’t lift the cup.

"As I say, success can be measured in other aspects as well – they’ve made great friendships and they are better players for the year they have had.”

McCullagh admitted the Derry side had paid the price for not taking some gilt edged goal chances in the opening half before eventually falling to a 2013 to 1-11 defeat.

“It’s a real feeling of disappointment. When you see the boys come off the pitch there, you feel disappointed for them more than anything because they put in such a big effort – not only today but throughout the year as well.

"We had so many obstacles put in front of us, but nothing deterred us all year. We’re disappointed that we didn’t give a true reflection of ourselves in the final. The intensity and effort level was there, but in the end we missed a few opportunities in the first half that came back to haunt us I think. Overall, we’re just massively disappointed.

“The second goal was a bit fortunate, but I suppose you make that luck yourself too. Looking at our own performance, in the first half we kicked a few wides, our shot selection wasn’t great, and we missed a few goal opportunities that would have made a massive difference.

"Then, the other side is that we had Naoise O’Mianain and Peter O’Flaherty putting their bodies on the line to make goal-saving blocks, so all in all it’s been a good year and we just go away disappointed not to go away with the cup.”