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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Imokilly manager Denis Ring grateful to the division’s clubs

Of the Imokilly matchday squad for Sunday evening’s Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC quarter-final win over Douglas, 11 different clubs were represented.

A 1-29 to 1-16 win sent the divisional side through to a semi-final meeting with Sarsfields on Sunday, October 1. While the presence of East Cork clubs in intermediate and junior championships on the same weekend provides something of a headache, manager Denis Ring has been delighted with the collective buy-in.

“The clubs are brilliant, we’re nothing without them,” he said.

“The players are good hurlers because of the clubs; all we’re trying to do is make a team out of them and give them the opportunity to perform at the highest level.

“That’s the key thing from our perspective and we – Aidan Kelleher, Seán Murphy, Brian Ronayne and myself – have been very lucky and we’re very appreciate.

“Seán Murphy is our liaison with the clubs and does a great job and we get massive backing from the East Cork Board, too.”

Imokilly led from trap to line, with a good first-half showing putting them into a 0-15 to 0-7 half-time lead as Seán Desmond, Jack Leahy and Diarmuid Healy impressed in attack. Though Shane Kingston did pull a goal back for Douglas early in the second half, Imokilly’s hold on the game was never shaken and Desmond’s late green flag underlined their dominance. In total, they had nine scorers, with seven of them registering more than once from open play.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the performance,” Ring said.

“The lads put in a massive effort in challenging circumstances. They have their clubs to look after and it’s difficult to juggle the two things together.

“We were missing Ciarán Joyce on Sunday and John Cronin, our captain – he was possibly okay but we took precautions as health comes first.

“We were delighted with the honesty of effort put in; it was a clinical performance. In fairness to Douglas, on a day when it wasn’t happening for them, they kept going and battling and getting scores until the very end.

“Our lads kept the scoreboard ticking over. Seán and Jack up top, it was three against two but they put in a huge shift.”

Overall, it was a sharp, well-integrated performance that belied the fact that it is a squad drawn from different clubs.

Being able to work together has helped to weave Imokilly into a unit and it’s something that will be needed again as they target a place in the final.

“We keep training away all the time,” Ring said, “it’s a mixture of having everybody on the field or everybody at the session.

“We have the numbers, the quality of the session might vary from one night to the next in who can contribute but there’s a good bond there. I said to the lads that there was a club feel in how they played and there’s fantastic leadership from the older guys.

“The whole benefit of divisional sides – if anyone was looking for an argument – was that nobody knew James McCarthy before today and they know him now. He was thrown in at the deep end and he had an outstanding game – a good transfer from Cobh Ramblers!”

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