Boyle Celtic’s loyal travelling supporters were put through an emotional rollercoaster on Sunday last as they watched their team snatch victory in the most dramatic fashion at Carrick-on-Suir. It was a day that will live long in the memory of the few hundred that made the long trip south, and manager Darren Hurd admitted that the tension-filled climax left him practically speechless.
“I can hardly speak at the moment,” he told the local media shortly after the final whistle. “I can’t believe we won the game. We played well. We played good football. Carrick were tough and strong, but I think we were a better footballing side on the day.
“With one minute to go, our goalkeeper Kyle Suffin makes a mistake and that took it into extra time. But Kyle has been unbelievable for us. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have been in this quarter-final, because he made four penalty saves against Ballina in the last 32.
“To be honest with you, I thought we were going to lose the game after the late equaliser went in. But it shows the spirit in the team. I’ve got lads in there with blisters on their feet as big as eggs,” the manager laughed.
Hurd went on to praise his players for the high quality football they produced, and also for their enormous workrate over the 110 minutes.
“That’s the style of football I’ve been coaching them — keep the ball down and play,” he explained. “They’re not the strongest team in the Sligo/Leitrim League. They wouldn’t be very powerful in the tackle. But technically they are fantastic.
“The shape is fantastic and they move the ball quick. They’re up and down the pitch, and they work hard. The team are all from the same area and they grew up together, which is another good thing.
“But credit to them. It’s absolutely fantastic. They’ve beaten a good team. Carrick have a good pedigree. It’s the first time ever that we’ve gotten into the semi-final. I really can’t believe it,” the manager said.
Those sentiments were echoed by centre-back Sean Purcell, and he admitted that the enormity of the achievement hadn’t fully sunk in.
“It’s crazy scenes here. But once you get the win out of it, you don’t care how it comes. We’ll just take it all in tonight first, and we’ll start looking towards Evergreen and the semi-final tomorrow.
“I said to Kyle (Suffin) that he had the chance to be hero again, and he was. He just loves saving penalties. It happened before in Ballina. These boys are resilient. They don’t want to give up. There’s a dream there and we want to achieve it,” the former Sligo Rovers player proclaimed.
That dream was made possible by a magnificent team performance in which every single player contributed. None more so than two-goal hero Mick Corrigan, and he insisted that the North Roscommon side would fear no-one at this stage.
“I never thought we’d get this far. But the further we went, the more belief we got. We’ll take on anybody. We’re afraid of no-one. We don’t care who they are or what they’ve won. We’ll just play our own game,” the 27-year-old striker affirmed.