Blackrock's young captain hopes they can be pitch perfect against the Glen

Blackrock's young captain hopes they can be pitch perfect against the Glen

Blackrock team captain, Michael O’Halloran, 23, ahead of the county final this weekend. Picture: Larry Cummins

BLACKROCK is one of Cork's proudest and best-known clubs.

While they haven't got their hands on the Seán Óg Murphy Cup since 2002, the Rockies are hurling aristocrats with the facilities to match. 

They've upgraded Church Road in recent years, with a new alley and a separate astroturf training area. There's a floodlit, sand-based pitch being laid at the back of the complex, but the main pitch is absolutely immaculate, as smooth and green a surface as you'd see anywhere on Leeside. 

Blackrock captain Michael O'Halloran and his team-mates have been training ferociously on the main pitch in recent months, with intense competition for places in a squad feeding into the senior and intermediate teams.

"Cathal Browne and Mick Goulding have done a lot of work and the surface is unreal. It's some pitch to train on alright," explained the 23-year-old before a light session in the run-up to Sunday's county final against Glen Rovers.

O'Halloran, a Cork senior panellist, agreed with the view that this season has been all the more enjoyable due to the split from inter-county. 

"It's great to be with the club the whole season, not coming and going. You love being back with the club and obviously it's great to train with Cork too, but this is a much better system."

He's young for a captain, though he feels a strong panel and battle-hardened management help.

"I'm a young captain, maybe too young! Sure we've a lot of experience in our squad. We've leaders throughout the squad and Cathal Cormack is the vice-captain and he's been great all year.

"Fergal has been in since 2015. We've Joe Young, John Browne, Kieran O'Keeffe, Kevin Murphy and Donncha O'Flynn are involved too so we've an excellent management team."

Blackrock head into the clash with the Glen, live on TG4 at 4pm on Sunday, after an epic showdown with UCC, who O'Halloran hurled with in the Fitzgibbon Cup. 

"It's taken five games to get to a county final, none of them easy games."

 Michael O'Halloran, Blackrock, takes on Eoin Cadogan, Douglas. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Michael O'Halloran, Blackrock, takes on Eoin Cadogan, Douglas. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

O'Halloran lanced over 0-7 from play in a thrilling quarter-final against Douglas but couldn't get into his groove against the College.

"It was frustrating personally, I didn't play that well but other fellas did. Collectively I was delighted and you've to park that stuff up, it's not about me.

"Tadhg and Robbie Cotter got came on and got some massive points and fellas stood up. We needed them to.

"We've a strong intermediate team and that brings good numbers at training and there are some very good hurlers in every game on the bench and waiting to get a chance."

Now is the next generation of Rockies' chance to join their predecessors as county champions. 

"There's pressure but look there is a high standard in the club and it's up to us to follow what the others did before us."

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