Graham Shaw carved out a unique place in history on Sunday, becoming the first player to play and coach separate teams to Irish Senior Cup glory on the same day, throwing in a man-of-the-match performance to boot.
Indeed, the achievement was heightened by further time constraints on his regular pre-match routine following Loreto’s epic penalties win against Railway Union which made it an even tougher ask for the 31-year-old.
The logistics left him scarcely a moment to perform his warm-up for Glenanne in the men’s decider but he managed it with flying colours as team captain Joe Brennan (pictured with Shaw and David Keogh, below left, celebrating) testified to, while also paying tribute to another former international team-mate:
“He was absolutely superb. To come from standing on a sideline for three hours, two hours watching that kind of match, warm-up for 15 minutes, barely get a stick on the ball and play like that shows the calibre of player Graham is. It was a great occasion too for Stephen [Butler] as well in his last Senior Cup match for Glenanne and a great way to finish it.”
Coach Arul Anthoni also added to the plaudits, having allowed his player to avoid a mental quandry: “It’s a massive achievement, being a coach and then playing. He told me he would join the team at half-time but I said ‘no, finish the job with Loreto’ because I wanted his mind to be off Loreto when he joined us and when he did join us, he was brilliant.”
As for the man himself, Loreto’s win served as the perfect fillip going into the Monkstown tie but admits things could have been very different if a couple of penalty moments had gone an inch either way.
“It was a huge lift, though. If they had of lost on strokes it would have been difficult to take so the win did help. I did watch the strokes and then had to run in quickly and get changed so it wasn’t easy.
"I did my own warm-up before I got there which meant I had to get focussed myself.
“I just had to separate both of the games, try and focus on one and when that was over, literally had to bank that straight away and focus on the Glenanne game.”
It adds another chapter to his list of his accolades but he says there’s no time to rest on his laurels, adding “I think we can win the IHL too. We’re positive, it’s a great result today so we’ll push from that.”