"All the heart and desire you want from a young team was greatly evident" 8 months ago

"All the heart and desire you want from a young team was greatly evident"


Johnny Kelly mentioned it. Jerry Kelly said it. And Brendan Maher talked about it too.

Borris-Ileigh had just defied the odds to beat Ballygunner in the Munster senior hurling final. Heart, guts and courage defined their approach.

These lads were jumping out of their skins.

And three of the club's biggest heroes left no doubt as to where this insatiable appetite came from, in their passionate post match interviews on TG4.

The age-old siege mentality.


The Borris-Ileigh players were wired to the moon come 2.00 on Sunday to prove to everyone who wrote them off, that they were well good enough to win this game.

The bookmakers had them at 4/1. The bookmakers are rarely too far wrong. They were here.

Along with some exceptional individual displays - none more so than the tour de force from Brendan Maher - this fiery approach took them to a famous underdog win.

On The GAA Hour Show on Monday, they beamed about the north Tipperary club's traditional, old-as-time approach. Brian Carroll texted the Borris-Ileigh manager to say congrats. Johnny Kelly's response told it all.

"He just texted back 'heart is a great tactic, and he said if you can get that into a team, anything is possible.'"

"I just thought, sometimes we get so caught up in the professionalism of approaches, but he's so right..."

The Tipperary champions were well drilled on the basics. And nobody summed up their will to win quite like their number 14 with the red helmet.

Jerry Kelly, their 21-year-old full forward, must have milled four men with hard but fair shoulders in the course of the game.

His honesty of effort endeared him to those in Páirc Uí Rinn and those watching on from the comfort of their homes.

The former Tipperary minor dived head first into everything, and when this manic desire is coupled with an innate skill that has seen him score four sidelines in the last four games - as well as numerous points from play - he's very hard to stop.

Brendan Maher was on a different planet and the rest of them were just as hungry.

Johnny Kelly, the Portumna man with the masterful club GAA record, joined on The GAA Hour line and he was full of praise for his Borris boys.

"We were rank outsiders yesterday and it was probably a motivational factor for us. We didn't focus on it too much (the 4/1 odds), we concentrated on getting a performance out of ourselves, and luckily we got that yesterday," began the former All-Ireland club winning manager with Portumna.

"The conditions probably suited a more direct style of play yesterday, and we stayed true to the way we set up. It isn't pretty, and sometimes it can backfire, but we had excellent performances, Brendan had a game for the ages and all the heart and desire you want from a young team was greatly evident..."

"The main jobs from forwards is to score but the work-rate and resilience that these young fellas show is critical to our game..."

"Winning with your own club (Portumna) is really, really special and it's something that I'll cherish forever, but it's no less sweeter in Borris-Ileigh or Coolderry when we won these titles. This is particularly satisfying because they're a small parish, they've small numbers and they're doing incredible work..."

And when you've Paddy the Cock inspiring you, where can it go wrong?

You can watch the latest episode of The GAA Hour here.