COUNTY final day is the be all and end all of your hurling career for the majority of club hurlers. It’s the day you dream of when trawling through the mucky, waterlogged pitches in January and February, and it’s the reason you put other commitments and opportunities on hold throughout the year – all in the hope of being the lucky one out of 24 teams to lift the Tom Callanan Cup.
Gort captain Greg Lally has been one of the lucky ones to be involved in the winning squad on county final day and had the added privilege of captaining his side to glory in 2014.
Lally though has also been at the other end of the spectrum. A devastating cruciate ligament injury sustained in a league game against Dublin last year looked to have put an end to Lally’s season but amazingly, he returned to fitness just in time for the county final against St Thomas’, but was helpless to prevent a Thomas’ victory as Gort lost out by four points.
Sunday’s clash with Liam Mellows will mark Lally’s fifth appearance on the biggest day of the club calendar. His record currently stands at two wins and two defeats but during this year’s campaign, that mattered little. The focus was solely on trying to get back to the final stage.
“I suppose, after a disappointing year last year and not getting over the line, it’s been a long 13 months at this stage but look it we set out the goal at the start of the year to get out of the group and take it step by step and, hopefully, get there and thankfully we have got there.
“We saw the group as a tough group. We didn’t get off to the best start against Sarsfields but after that our backs were to the wall and we knew that if we didn’t win the Turloughmore game, the St Thomas’ game we were in bother.
“The only time I actually reflect on the Thomas’ game is when you get to the final again. Then you can look back on last year’s final and see what you did wrong so that’s what we hope to do over the next 10 days.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.