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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Good response to concession of goals stands to Blarney

A strong response to setbacks served Blarney well as they reached the Co-op SuperStores Cork SAHC semi-finals, manager Michael Barrett felt.

Two Cloyne goals – one just before half-time and one shortly after the resumption – kept the East Cork side in touch in Friday’s quarter-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh but Blarney pushed on well to record a 0-24 to 2-9 win.

A semi-final tie with Bride Rovers awaits and, while it will be another tough test, Barrett has been pleased with the resilience shown.

“If you go back to the Ballyhea game two weeks ago, the same thing happened, Ballyhea got a goal just after half-time,” he said.

“Even through the league campaign, when we’ve conceded goals we haven’t dropped our head. That’s something that we’re instilling into the players – don’t drop the head, you have the hurling, drive on.

“Go back to the plan, back to the process and go from there.”

 Cloyne defender Adam Sherlock keeps the pressure on Eoghan Kirby of Blarney in the wet conditions at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Larry Cummins
Cloyne defender Adam Sherlock keeps the pressure on Eoghan Kirby of Blarney in the wet conditions at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Larry Cummins

Barrett gives a lot of credit to the team’s coach, former Limerick payer Gavin O’Mahony.

“Gavin has brought an intensity and he has really got the players behind him,” he said.

“He’s a youthful guy and he’s bringing a new brand of hurling to the lads. That’s really coming through.

“He’s giving them confidence, which is the most important thing in a young team. They are a young bunch – we had five guys on Friday night who played junior championship last year.

“That’s what you’re dealing with, that’s the reality of it. What Gavin has done is instil that confidence into them that they can come to the biggest stage in the county and perform.”

Blarney benefited from being able to call on Mark Coleman as a sub for the second half. The Cork star, who missed the inter-county season with a knee injury, scored two points and was instrumental in the victory.

“Mark has a huge impact and it’s fantastic to be able to bring him off the bench,” Barrett said.

“He’s getting there; he’s getting back to where he should be and hopefully another week or two will bring him on a bit more.

“We’re very conscious of the injury he has had and we’re very conscious of the recovery he has gone through and all of the people who have helped in that recovery.

“We haven’t pushed it. We’re working with the people involved and with Mark and it’s about doing whatever it takes. Whatever we can do to get him over the line is what we’ll do.

“Any day Mark goes out, he gives everything for Blarney.

“His whole family, they’re the backbone of the club, they’re the bloodline of the club.

“He made a big effort again on Friday – he was groomsman at a wedding earlier in the day, so that was a big challenge again for him.”

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