GLEN ROVERS team boss Richie Kelleher believes that the challenge Erin’s Own will present on Saturday night in the Cork County Premier Senior semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 7.30pm, will be formidable.
Kelleher might have been half expecting Sarsfields to come out of the opposition dressing room for the big game but the Caherlag outfit deservedly made sure that would not be the case and so what we have now is a repeat of the 2016 final when the Glen triumphed.
The Glen boss, now in his sixth year at the helm in Blackpool and after a hugely successful stint which has yielded two titles to date, is looking forward to the last four showdown but wary of what might lie ahead.
“We are certainly where we set out to be but we have had an extended break since our last game at the group stage whereas Erin’s Own have played competitively more recently than we have.
“That’s a bit of a concern but when we went through to the semi-finals we knew that our opponents would have the extra game in the quarter-final.
“Look, we are under no illusions about the game, Erin’s Own had a great win against Sars when Sars went into that game as red hot favourites."
And he’s fully aware of what any Erin’s Own side can bring to the table on big match days.
Of course, we played them in the 2016 final and were fortunate enough to get past them.
“That day we led well at one stage but they came back at us and actually took the lead.
“But Patrick (Horgan) got some big scores for us and we won by a couple of points but it wasn’t easy. A lot of the players that played against us that day are still their main men so they’ll have a point to prove and they’ll go into the game with the momentum of the Sars win behind them.
“Look at their results this season, on a few occasions they looked to be in big trouble against Bishopstown and Newtown but they showed their resilience to get a win and a draw in those games which put them through.
“They are a side that just won’t go away and we know that."
There is no margin for error now for any of the sides, something that Kelleher is only too well aware of.
“This is our first knockout game since we played Borris-Ileigh in the Munster club back in February so it’s very much having to take the chance you are getting.
“It will be a month next Sunday since our last competitive game, we played Kerry in a challenge but we were short and so were they so you could not read anything into that.
“This is the championship, this is a knockout game so we must be right with everything.
“Things have gone well in training, we have no injury worries as such and the players have been first class.
“It’s all about us getting the organisation right, doing as much with them in training as we can but on match days it’s over to them."
Kelleher is hoping that the experience of the past number of years will benefit the team when Erin’s Own are likely to pose the big questions.
“We have had a good couple of years and we have had a nice level of consistency. We won two titles, would have liked to have won a few more but this is a hard championship every year to win.
“You are down now to the last four now, four good teams and Erin’s Own are one of them.
“A lot of their players know what it takes to win a Cork county title as do ours so we are expecting a battle and, hopefully, we will come out on the right side of it," the Glen boss told the Echo.
Reflecting back on that 2016 final, the Glen led at one stage early in the second-half by 0-12 to 1-3 before Erin’s Own rallied to lead by two points on a scoreline of 2-10 to 0-14.
But Horgan’s class came to the forefront again with some quality points and the city side got home by two points, 0-19 to 2-11.
Horgan contributed a dozen points that day with Dean Brosnan registering four. Erin’s Own goals were scored by Mossie O’Carroll and James O’Flynn.