WEST Cork Schoolboys U13 Inter-League manager Danny McQueen was proud of his players’ efforts in their Subway SFAI All-Ireland Plate semi-final defeat as well as the quality of his club Drinagh Rangers’ playing facilities.
‘Cavan-Monaghan were the better team on the day but their goalkeeper, Bonnie McKiernan, was the busiest player on the pitch and made the difference in the end,’ admitted McQueen.
‘We said to the lads at half time – when we were 1-0 down – that they just had to go out there and give it their all and they did. We end the season with our heads held high and although the lads are disappointed, hopefully by tomorrow they will realise what they have achieved.’
‘We have played the same style all year round whenever we don’t have the ball. Moving across the pitch as a unit and closing down as a unit, but we couldn’t have asked any more of the lads, they gave their all. Next up for us is the Galway Cup and hopefully we will have a good tournament and see what comes of that.’
Competing in the Galway Cup will permit McQueen and Ray Claffey an opportunity to test the West Cork squad against quality schoolboys inter-league opposition similar to Cavan-Monaghan, something that can only aid their players’ development.
‘It will be a real bonus going to the Galway Cup because our players need to know what they will be up against when they compete at the (U14) Kennedy Cup in Limerick next year,’ McQueen stated.
‘These competitions show the lads what they are going to be up against so we have to raise the bar every time we go out on the pitch.
‘Obviously, the further you progress in these competitions the tougher the opposition but we just have to keep going. They are a good set of lads and will learn from this experience and take it on board going forward.’
As a proud Drinagh Rangers clubman, Sunday’s semi-final was a special occasion for McQueen, hosting an All-Ireland semi-final on his home ground of Canon Crowley Park and seeing his son Tom play a vital role in central midfield.
‘It was nice to see such a big crowd today because it is not too often we have the chance to host a big game in Drinagh,’ McQueen said.
‘Myself, being a Drinagh Rangers clubman, it was nice to play the semi-final here and nice to have Tom (McQueen) out there on the pitch. It was just a nice day all round despite the result.’