Pearse-ing Defeat: Ballygunner succumb to history makers in Thurles

Defeat is always a bitter pill to swallow. A Munster club title and by extension a shot at a Croke Park appearance at Saint Patrick’s Day is the ‘holy grail’ for every club player but remains just out of reach for this Ballygunner side.
The scene post referee Rory McGann’s final whistle was one of enormous contrasts. The excitement and joy as expressed by the Na Piarsaigh team and management was that of a club riding the crest of a wave, riding to their fourth title in four Munster club campaigns.
Just metres away were a Ballygunner team disconsolate with disappointment, discomfort and pain etched on their faces.

Conor Sheahan’s disappointment could hardly be more evident moments after the full-time whistle at Semple Stadium following Ballygunner’s Munster Final defeat to Na Piarsaigh. See Sport 2-5 for more. 							| Photo: Noel Browne

Conor Sheahan’s disappointment could hardly be more evident moments after the full-time whistle at Semple Stadium following Ballygunner’s Munster Final defeat to Na Piarsaigh. See Sport 2-5 for more. | Photo: Noel Browne


In these moments nothing else seems important. Kind words fall on deaf ears and reassurances on how you might have played fail to dissolve the moment of grief.
Tears were shed.
Of course it’s not life or death and no, it’s not more important than that. However in such moments few other things seem to matter a whole lot.
The Billy O’Neill Cup, while still in view, seems miles away. Another season another campaign, God only knows.
Family members arrived on the scene and sympathies were offered. Hugs and kisses exchanged but no time for a post-mortem.
The final insult is delivered with the Captain’s speech. Well done to Ballygunner, you’re great champions, you will be back…it’s ‘blah, blah, blah’ from the losing players’ perspective, and the less said about the ‘three cheers’, the better.

Finally the ordeal is over. You can trundle back to the dressing room and get out dodge as quickly as possible.
You don’t want to linger and the last thing you want is to hear is singing from down the corridor. Silence, they say, is golden but it’s necessary although difficult for any manger to address this occasion. Thanks are appropriate and people need to be mentioned. Not our day but pride all the same, etc.
If you could you’d have a car on standby for a quick exit and spin to a local hostelry. Modern convention forbids such individuality with players and their itinerary choreographed to within an inch of their lives. It’s on to the bus then so.

Those sports Psychologist gurus suggest that such pain ideally should be felt full on, no sedatives, and no relief. Save up these ‘memories’ for the ‘Hurt Locker’. Use the ‘Hurt’ to fuel the desire.
Thanks but no thanks. The ‘Hurt Locker’ is brim full as it is. No room at the inn.
Time they do say time is a great healer. Best to put time between this defeat and meaningful analysis. The scoreline is irrelevant too; no extra medals for beating the spread bet or not as the case may be.
In sport, there’s winning and losing: Ws and Ls and little in between.
Eventually the consensus will come round to the fact that the better team won. They usually do.
Still county champions? Four-in-a-row still in record books? You better believe it. Munster Club? Bloody difficult to win? Agreed.

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