Raharney’s Rory Keyes is tackled by Kilmacud Crokes’ Brian Sheehy during yesterday’s AIB Leinster Club SHC clash in TEG Cusack Park. PHOTO: JOHN MCCAULEY

McKeogh foresees a ‘positive future’ ahead for Raharney

Despite shipping a very heavy defeat at the hands of Kilmacud Crokes yesterday afternoon, Raharney manager Brendan McKeogh was as enthusiastic as ever when he spoke to the assembled media in TEG Cusack Park after the match.

He opened by saying: “Today was a big defeat, but that’s life I suppose. We’ve been pretty lucky here all year, but Kilmacud are a serious outfit.

“I went up to the Dublin county final and I knew (Ronan) Hayes and Alex Considine were their two biggest threats, and I knew Oisín O’Rorke was their playmaker, and we tried to tighten them up. But, at the end of the day, they were just a bridge too far for us on this occasion.

“Just before the first water break, Eoin Keyes was unlucky not to get a goal and if we had got that goal it would have given us a lift. Instead, we missed that goal and then they got a goal. That was a big blow to us at that point of the game.

“I think a lot of county teams would struggle with them, but from where we’ve come from to where we are now, I’d be proud of every single one of them.”

Overall, McKeogh has seen a remarkable transformation in the Deelsiders’ fortunes in 2021. In this regard, he stated: “Last year, we finished behind ‘Pollard and the Gaels, and our target this year was to finish the high side of those two and to do something against the other two (Castletown-Geoghegan and Clonkill). And we went on to win the county title.

“In 20/30 years’ time, if I’m still alive, when I meet those lads at Mass or in the pub or whatever, I’ll think of the days we had this year. You try not to, but you get really attached to players.

“When you see a lad grinding week-in week-out at training, you build up a liking for the guys. They become nearly part of your family.”

The losing bainisteoir conceded that the Dubliners’ physicality was impressive.

“They are a little bit more seasoned than us. We have a lot of very young guys,” he said. “They will develop physically when they get to 22/23/24. We have a lot of guys, the likes of Robbie Greville, who you’d imagine is only coming in to the best five or six years of his career.

“We have a lot of lads like the Doyles and Sean Quinn aged 22 or 23, and they have great years ahead of them. All our lads will develop into better players if they keep working the way they have worked this year. It’s a positive future for us.

“I’d like to thank the Raharney supporters. They are always behind us and supported us throughout the year. I don’t think the boys let them down today.

“Everybody did their very best. I’d love to be back next year with the same management team, but we haven’t even discussed next year to be honest,” McKeogh concluded.