DCU manager Paddy Christie has cited the Sigerson final victory against IT Carlow one of joy and relief as DCU claimed their fifth Sigerson championship with a seven-point win at the DCU Sportsgrounds.
Speaking after the match, Christie told the College View that it was a special time for him as he has learned so much about the character of his team and speciality that the Sigerson cup brings and how hard it is to win it.
“I was never fully sure that we had the match won until I heard the final whistle, I couldn’t take the opposition for granted for one second even when we had such a lead. We also had pressure on us to deliver as we were playing on home soil and everyone was tipping us as hot favourites which as a manager, I feel can add to the tension more than a player,” said Christie.
Playing as tournament hosts, the Glasnevin side had seven points to spare on first-time finalists’ IT Carlow, having previously dispatched UCD by 15 points, Queens by 26 and the Garda College by 3 points with Christie calling every game as a learning curve.
“If you take the Garda game, yes, we learned how to deal with and breakdown a strong blanket defence, but you also have to look at the character we showed when it seemed like we were done for. Nobody was giving us a hope after the Garda game, yet you see the performances we delivered against Queens and UCD. I do agree that there may have been some luck in it all, but from what I learned, you need a little luck in this game,” Christie said.
Speaking about the final Christie has admitted it was difficult to stay calm going in at half time, especially with his team missing three goal opportunities and team captain Brendan McCole receiving a black card.
“We should’ve been more up going in at the break. Normally we would put them goals away, but you never know what key moments finals produce. Luckily, they didn’t come back to haunt us. I feel overall, we stuck brilliantly to our plan, moving the ball fast out of defence, no silly passing and being patient against the strong wind.”
Christie graduated from DCU in 1998, at a time when DCU were not one of the dominant figures of University football, however, when he returned to do his masters degree in 2005, he saw an unbelievably positive transition in sport led by four time Sigerson winning manager Niall Moyna.
“I was unfortunate never to play under Niall. This Sigerson success was largely created by him and the work he’s done in GAA for the guts of 20 years and when I took over as manager I tried to install the same philosophy of having good DCU football men around me with a focus on player development and knowing that subs were not here to make up numbers but to make an impact and change the game. I was delighted to see Niall at the final as a lot of the players who carried this team were developed by him.”
With the season finished now Christie will now turn his attention to his role coaching the Tipperary footballers but hopes to return as DCU manager next season.
“I feel I have developed a special bond with everyone that was involved with the team and hope to keep as many as I can next season provided I get the job. DCU has always had a special place in my life. Its been good to me and I hope this Sigerson victory allows me to give something back to the University,” said Christie.
Image Credit: Sportsfile