There was not much in terms of quality on show but neither side lacked anything in terms of heart and commitment as Roslea eventually came out five point winners on the day, a fortuitous 58th minute goal easing the pressure on Roslea in the final stages.
“We stumbled across the line but the key words are that we got across the line,” was Harte’s assessment after the game.
“Any final is all about winning,” added O’Donnell. “We took it step by step, the papers were writing it up as a mismatch but thankfully myself, Mark and our players never bought into that. We knew that it was possibly going to go into the last five minutes and so it turned out, they were never out of the game. We’re proud of our players; how they dug deep and how they actually played for the 60 minutes. We prepared them for that and thankfully they delivered on the day.”
Roslea appeared to have got on top early on as they carved open a 1-02 to 0-01 advantage but the loss of full back Niall Cassidy to a head injury was a blow and Teemore stormed back into the contest before the break with Eoin McManus finding the net from a speculative shot during that spell.
“There was a period for five or six minutes when we were a bit unsettled,” admitted O’Donnell. “We lost our full back through an innocuous challenge and it took us a wee while to recover. We would have been four ahead at that stage and we would have been happy enough with our exchanges but it (the goal) was a sucker blow and it meant that they were closer than they should of been coming in at half time. At that stage we knew it was going to come down to the last ten minutes and we tried to prepare ourselves as best we could for that at half time.”
The strength of Roslea’s squad was underlined by the introduction of Peter Sherry to replace a concussed Cassidy before half time with Harte stating that the players who have been sprung from the bench have made a big impact over the course of the season.
“Niall is one of the lynchpins of the defence and he was very keen to come back on but we took medical advice and they recommended that he didn’t re-enter the pitch. We turned to the bench and we knew that if we introduced somebody they are not going in to make up numbers. They are hopefully going in to make an impact and thankfully our bench has been good to us all year and they continued that.
“Peter Sherry broke his hand a number of weeks ago and hasn’t done an awful lot but he was so determined and he is travelling from Dublin, himself and James, just to play football for Roslea. I was delighted for him because he missed the last game and it was touch and go if he was going to be involved at all.”
And Harte says that his experienced hands showed the composure required in the latter stages to see them over the line.
“You have a number of experienced campaigners there and they showed the composure needed. That bit of experience got us over the line,” he said.
The attention now switches to the Ulster Club championship and a meeting with the Donegal champions on November 9. Donegal’s run to the All Ireland final means that their championship is late being run off and whoever comes out of the county will have a hectic schedule going into Ulster. Drawing on personal experiences Harte though does not believe there is any advantage for Roslea in having a month to prepare for the encounter.
“I think it is going to come down to preparation and to avoiding injuries. In 2002 we played Ulster Club with Errigal and we played three games against Crossmaglen. Ballinderry sat watching us for three weeks and they were All Ireland Club champions and everybody thought we were going to be tired but we turned them over. If anything they will have momentum. The thing we are glad of as well is that it is not a break now until the Ulster Club first round. We have a league semi-final against Donagh who hammmered us in the league a few weeks ago to look forward to next Sunday. It’s not like we will be stale either, we will have a couple of weeks of games hopefully to prepare us as well,” he said.