IT WAS, in the end, a deserved win for Éire Óg over Bantry Blues in the Bon Secours Cork Senior A Football Championship on Saturday afternoon.
During this victory, former Cork All-Ireland winner Daniel Goulding showcased the quality he possesses in his locker still, with a number of fine scores.
Chatting with the Echo, Éire Óg manager Harry O’Reilly said although getting the win over Bantry was a positive, there are still a lot of areas which his players can work on.
“A win is a win. You will always get a battle from Bantry. We were lucky to get over them in the semi-final last year and we knew today would be no different. It is always a very tight game between us.
“I thought we made life very hard for ourselves at times. At times we looked good and other times we looked average.
“Look, it is the first game of the year. You have to build on that and we would be hoping we will build as we go along. You can play a few challenge games but that is not really a true measure. You don’t know how you are going until you meet a team like Bantry.”
This victory was during a game that saw Éire Óg making their senior debut, albeit in the second tier of what is now a competition for 24 clubs, after winning the Cork Premier Intermediate title last term.
O’Reilly feels that his Ovens side will need to continue putting in the hard work if they want to have a successful and productive time in 2020.
“If you look at the team we have on paper, I’d suppose you’d think we are very strong. A lot of lads have worn the Cork jersey and things like that.
“But none of these championship games are easy to win. Every day is a new day and you have to go out and put your best out.
“We have the nucleus of a good side, but you have to win championship matches to prove that as well.
“Apart from Daniel Goulding, Ciaran Sheehan, Liam Sheehan, it is a very young team. Most of the lads would be under 25.”
It's huge for young Éire Óg players and fans to look up to and learn from the calibre of player such as Sheehan and Goulding.
A number of Éire Óg footballers have impressed for the Rebels over recent times such as Colm O’Callaghan and Jack Murphy, who both starred for the Cork U20s side last summer.
Kiskeam and Mallow are the two other teams in this particular group. If Éire Óg can click like they are capable of, they will take some stopping in this Championship over the coming months.