He may have been the youngest player on the field for Kildare but when the opportunity arose from 11 metres, Paddy Brophy was also the coolest. He looked nerveless as he stroked home a penalty within a minute of the start of the second half but after the game admitted his calm exterior was hiding was what going on inside his head.
“There were a bit of nerves alright,” he said. “I knew that it was going to be fairly decisive. We knew beforehand in the dressing rooms what roles everybody had and who would be taking penalties and who would be taking frees. We stuck to it and luckily enough the ball went in the net,” said the 19-year-old Celbridge man.
Even though that penalty eventually was the difference on the scoreboard Brophy was quick to share the acclaim with his team mates.
“It’s not about any one individual, it’s about the team and I am just happy that the penalty went in. Hopefully we can push on now and win an All-Ireland,” he said.
Coming so early in the second half, the goal came at a vital time according to Brophy.
“We said we needed a good start in the second half because they had the breeze behind them. We pushed on and got 1-1 without reply early on but then they came back into it, we held our own though and pushed on to win.”
Although Kildare built up a head of steam soon after the restart, the closing moments of the game were still fraught with anxiety for the team and supporters alike.
“We had to drop men back in the latter stages, they were winning a lot of ball but Sean and Tommy I thought were brilliant in midfield, they won the important ball for us and got it forward and it was up to us in the forward line to make it stick,” he said.
It was hard for Brophy to convey just what the final whistle signalling the team as Leinster champions meant to him.
“It’s absolutely brilliant. The county haven’t won a Leinster since 2008, some people might say that with the players there we should have won one since 2008 but it’s just brilliant to win one. They don’t come around too often so it’s a great feeling.”
The team won’t be settling for just lifting the Flood Cup though and within moments of the game ending, the thoughts of the squad have turned to the All-Ireland series.
“We have two and a half weeks to prepare for the semi-final and then hopefully if we win that we’ll be in an All-Ireland final. That’s the ultimate goal for every young lad, you want to play in an All-Ireland final, let’s hope it happens.”