IN THE week leading up to their final group game in the Cork County SHC there was a lot of apprehension in the air around Togher.
Defeat for St Finbarr’s against Carrigtwohill and they could have found themselves immersed in a struggle to avoid losing their status as a premier senior club.
For such a decorated club that scenario would have been the last straw and a huge blow to those who are currently working diligently on the ground in Togher.
But those fears are no more now, the team’s season might be at an end but the display against Carrigtwohill has given optimism that better days might be ahead in 2021.
The performance of young guns like Ethan Twomey and Jack Cahalane has certainly given renewed hope to that belief. They're favourites for the U16 title, with a semi-final to come, and host the Glen next Wednesday night in the P1 Minor semi-final.
Former star and a great club servant, John Cremin wore the manager’s bib against Carrigtwohill on Saturday and he was delighted with the effort and application of the players on duty.
“The big thing for us was to get the result and avoid a relegation battle. If you got into that anything could have happened so the main reaction now is one of relief.
“And now that we have our senior status secured for next season it’s all about going forward.
“I believe our players against Carrigtwohill showed what they could do, especially our younger ones.
“This year has been difficult but it has been for everybody. Covid has provided challenges in preparing teams.
“We had a fortnight to prepare for the game with Carrigtwohill so we were able to do a good bit of work. In the earlier games you had hurling one week, football the next so you didn’t have that time.
“So it was great to be able to focus on this game for the fortnight and tonight we got the performance.’’
Cremin believed the players deserve huge credit for the response that they provided in a game of such magnitude.
“They were magnificent, their hooking, the blocking, the commitment was first class, we could not have asked for more from them.
“You could not pick out one player, everybody put in the effort. The young lads, Ethan and Jack got some great scores.
“There was debate whether we’d go from the start with those fellows, would you bring them on or whatever.
“But those lads have magnificent hurling skills, that enabled them to get scores. And in fairness to Ger Cunningham and Ger Regan and Donal O’Grady, who did an awful lot on the pitch.
“My role was kind of bringing in the lads to do a job but the lads, they did the work with the players in training and it bore fruit for us.
“Again we had a fortnight to do it whereas the previous management team didn’t have that with the football and hurling every weekend.’’
It’s season’s end now where the team is concerned but Cremin is hoping that maybe a platform was laid down with that win over Carrigtwohill.
“You would hope that performance would give you a platform to build for the future.
“This could have been a very difficult game and in fairness to Carrigtwohill, they had played two great games coming into here .
“But we hit the ground running, we got a good start, got the scores and then the belief came.’’
That was certainly the case, this great club will be plying their trade again next season in the Premier grade and if last Saturday night is any indicator, there must be room for optimism.
There is a lot of young talent starting to blossom in Togher, Twomey, the younger of the Cahalanes and Sam Ben Cunningham to mention just a few.
There is a good blend being formed and in the aftermath of their win over Carrigtwohill, despite having no supporters present, you could sense that things are going to be better.
They must look in now as the remaining contenders battle it out for the big prize but, hopefully, sooner rather than later this great club will be in among them again as they were 12 months ago when they reached the semi-final.
And Cork hurling needs that too.