Derry coach Ciaran Meenagh praises players after back to back Ulster titles secured

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Derry coach's Ciaran Meenagh has a motto for life; "No fuss, No drama!" Well, Sunday's dramatic Ulster Senior Football final put that one to bed, didn't it!

Meenagh was in charge of Derry for the final after Rory Gallagher stepped back earlier in the week and he admitted a thriller of a game which ended in Derry becoming the first county to claim a senior provincial crown on penalties had put him through the emotional mill for 90 plus dramatic minutes.

"I have a whole range of emotions, it was certainly out of my control as we headed into extra time and certainly when it went to penalties it was in the lap of the gods," smiled Meenagh after watching Ciaran McFaul’s winning spot-kick secure Derry back-to-back titles for the first time since 1975-76.

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"We had the experience of a win down in Newry in the McKenna Cup semi-final where he (Odhran Lynch) saved a number of penalties that night and we had pretty much the same penalty takers that night so from that point of view, while it is a lottery, we were quietly confident when it went to penalties.

Derry's Conor Doherty gets to grips with Armagh's Jason Duffy in Clones on Sundasy. (Photo: John Merry)Derry's Conor Doherty gets to grips with Armagh's Jason Duffy in Clones on Sundasy. (Photo: John Merry)
Derry's Conor Doherty gets to grips with Armagh's Jason Duffy in Clones on Sundasy. (Photo: John Merry)

"Going in after full time and ahead of extra time we were not in a great place. Armagh had all the momentum and we had it all to prove. They had won the toss, we were playing against the breeze. Look it, now these Derry players have won two Ulster titles in a row, I don’t think their character can ever be questioned."Look, my motto in life is 'no fuss, no drama', just get on with things," when asked if he ever expected to be standing in the limelight of an Ulster final victory, "That is the way life goes and you treat it as such. I had a job to do today and you just get on with it."

The Derry coach admitted they were in unknown territory in terms of how the players would react to following a difficult week.

"You don’t know, it is a lottery with how things pan out," he explained “I suppose it boiled down to my confidence in the players and it’s very much a collective management team. The support I got from Ronan and Enda, Ben and Hugh today, I wasn’t nervous or I wasn’t apprehensive because I was confident we were going to win so you just take it in your stride and you get on with it as such.

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"We had played the first half against the breeze with 14 men and were only a point down. We said no more men back; Odhran Lynch played off his line, he played as an extra player, we had to do better on their kick-outs and they had a lot of success and caused us a lot of problems of their own kickout. Look, the bottom line and my message to them at half time in extra time was to go for broke and lets play to win and we did that."