Wallis on Winnin back to back titles

garveylogo_web.jpgWallis - winning back to back titles important for Ballyduff squad
By Murt Murphy for kerrygaa.ie
The smile on the face of Jerry Wallis said it all; he was relieved man just after Ballyduff had annexed their 23rd County SHC title but only just as they had put to the pin of their collars by a luckless Crotta O'Neill's side.
How did the new Antrim boss view the game "
"This was one of our toughest wins in my time here in Kerry hurling, but I had kept saying that to the lads, since we overcame Lixnaw three weeks ago. I knew this was going to be a different game and game won by playing hurling. This final had everything and to be fair Crotta had goal chances in the first half and again in the second half, when Liam Boyle came across and prevented Crotta scoring a certain goal. The had chances when the ball was around the square and we got it clear and PJ made a good save. My initial reaction is that I am delighted for the group of players, because it had been said to them all along that they had underachieved as a group of players within the village. To win one title is difficult but to post back to back, is special and one of the hardest things you will ever do.
It was tight out there today; it was down to the wire stuff. Last year I made a few substitutions but this year I stuck with the fifteen because I thought they were doing well. Despite being five down at half time I thought that we were doing well, and I said that the wind would not won the game and that they had to remain patient and that they did
I also told them that I needed someone to stay in one the square and at the end of the day that turned out to be vital. What I said was that I wanted to have one of the big lads in there the whole time, either Gary or Aidan or Michael (Boyle). In fact Michael came out and acted as a third midfielder for me as we were trying to win ball at midfield
I had watched the video of the Ballyheigue semi final and what I noticed from the puck outs of Crotta in the second half that the ball was travelling the same distance and what I said to the lads that if we lost the toss and if we were playing with the wind in the second half that we could position all our big men across midfield and more or less create a wall that were good with their hands and what we did then was focus on trying to attack the ball with one man and if the ball broke we then had a man to pick up the breaks. In the second half we were winning the dirty ball while Crotta were winning it in the first half. "
Wallis made an amazing admission about what happened at half time when Ballyduff retired to think things over
"Well at half time what I did first was that I cleared the dressing room of everyone that was involved with the Ballyduff club except the players and I told them that they had six minutes to talk among themselves and reflect on what they had to do. I asked them to sort it out and I told them that even sorting it out might still mean that we would lose the game. Then I came back in myself for the last few minutes and the rest of the club men did the same. I remained calm with them - there was a few tactical things that I wanted to talk to them about because I was fearful that Shane Nolan might stay in around full forward and they might send in a better quality low bal to him and that might expose us but they didn't and I also told them that wind was not going to win it for us either. I told them the get the ball into the central positions and intelligently and into the full forward line because from watching other games I felt that Crotta were vulnerable around the square. I think that was proved there today because we got two goals from two balls that went in but we did not do that enough"

18_23titlewinners.jpgWhat did Wallis think of the standard and did he think that Ballyduff got out of jail as Crotta had played so well yet lost
" Definitely Crotta could have beaten us- they missed some chances and could have nailed us with a goal straight after half time but PJ O'Gorman made a fine save. Last years County Final had an awful lot in it as well but this year has really shown up Kerry hurling at its best. You know me I am consistent and I want the game to improve and thrive and you saw it out there today it was manly hurling but there was no foul stroke by either side. It was refreshing stuff and of course I feel sorry for Crotta. I felt that the players on both sides got a bit frustrated with some of the frees that were awarded for technical offences lets say like steps. I never criticize officials but I felt because of the spirit in which the game was being played that maybe it should have been let flow more.
I did say to Crotta in their dressing room and I will repeat it. I think it was three years ago that St Brendan's were in a county final here against Kilmoyley and they lost and St Brendan's did not kick on after that at all for some reason. People would have felt that they were the up and coming team but id did not happen. We have Lixnaw now, Kilmoyley have not gone away but I think that this Crotta team, this group of players can take great pride in what they have achieved and the way they have played. I am hoping that they will keep their heads and work hard again for the next twelve months and I believe that there is a Championship in them, but I am glad it wasn't against us today!!"
Wallis is giving the players a couple of days but then its back to training on Wednesday night for a serious assault on the Munster Intermediate Club " We are back on Wednesday night and then we will meet about five times before Sunday week. If you asked me at the start of the year to put my hand on my heart and say where I wanted to be , I would have said that I would love to be back to have a cut of the Munster Club Hurling Championship. I really hope that these Ballyduff lads share my ambitions. Its going to be a great day up in Cork and you will have John Meyler involved with Courcey Rvs and he will know everything about our lads but we know about them, as well. The monkey is now off our lad's backs as regards the two in a row so I hope they give this game their best shot and we will be underdogs and that will suit Ballyduff. We have some of the finest hurlers of any generation and we will be giving it our best shot"
Wallis confirmed that it would be his hope to stay involved with Ballyduff next season despite his new Antrim post.


Meanwhile an emotional Crotta O'Neill's chairman Dan McCarthy tried to make sense of it all and he could barely hold back the tears "The lads gave it one hundred and ten percent and it is very disappointing for the players having made that kind of effort. We just needed a bit of luck and we missed a few vital scores and Ballyduff got the goals and we did not get the goals that would have turned the game in our favour. We had the champions under pressure for most of the game.
We knew that there was a big game in these lads and we were hoping that it was going to be today. They played very well, they showed great belief and I could not fault them"