By Daragh Ó Conchúir
MEGAN THYNNE attributed Kilmessan's second AIB All-Ireland Junior Club Camogie Championship success to the strength of the squad and unity of purpose, rather than the performances of a handful of elite operators.
Thynne crowned a spectacular year with a typical all-action display to help the Meath champions over the line by 0-9 to 0-5, having been a key cog in the machine that propelled the Royals to an All-Ireland Intermediate title earlier this year with a series of displays that earned her a place in the inaugural Soaring Stars line-up.
The 19-year-old is also a footballer of note, and has played at all levels for the county with the big ball.
She was earmarked as one of the potential match-winners beforehand and after making an important contribution in setting up the injury-time equalising goal against Clanmaurice in the drawn game, was magnificent in the second half as Kilmessan edged clear in Sunday's replay.
Any suggestions that she was one of the main reasons for the win were batted away however.
"The girls put in a serious shift" said Thynne. "Everyone. Nadine (Doyle) came on and scored a point. It's about the panel, not just the team. We have that and I'm so proud of them.
"The first game we were very disappointed that the forwards didn't get into the game. We started from the start today, got stuck in. We knew it was going to be tough. We still missed a good few shots but a win is a win and if it's one point or 10, it doesn't matter."
It was Aileen Donnelly who had the composure and ability to rifle that vital 63rd minute goal in Crettyard to secure a second chance and the mother-of-four was named AIB Player of the Match after scoring five crucial points from frees and providing plenty of leadership at the Silvermines pitch.
"It makes the goal last week all the more important 'cos it gave us a chance to come back" smiled Donnelly.
"Everyone was saying if we got good ground and a good day we'd be a better team. It wasn't like that in the first half at all, it was pretty much the same as last week, we were slow to get going again but that was down to Clanmaurice, they're an excellent side. They really came at us and competed very well.
"But once we got to grips with the ground and the tackles, maybe our little bit of Camogie edge came to the fore in the end. So we're delighted."
Thynne paid tribute to Clanmaurice, who had already made history by becoming the first Kerry team to compete in an All-Ireland Club Camogie Final and were seconds away from nabbing a remarkable victory in the drawn encounter before Donnelly's rescue act.
She predicted that Mike Enright's charges would get over the line in the future but focussing on Kilmessan, expressed the hope that the current side's feats would inspire future generations.
"Everyone watching the game with two minutes left thought we were dead and gone. They're a serious side, they really brought it and it will come to them at some stage.
"This team is so special, the players we have, the bond between everyone. The U10s, 12s coming here, they idolise the team and this is for the future. We want as many of them as possible playing in the future."