DESPITE putting in a serious shift for the opening 22 minutes that saw Blackrock command an 11-point lead they were hanging on in the closing minutes.
In the end, the Rockies were relieved to come away from Páirc Uí Rinn with a hard-earned 2-16 to 2-12 win in the Co-Op Superstores Senior hurling championship.
“I suppose the lads throught that they had done enough in the opening 20 minutes to rest on their laurels, but they now know that championship hurling is all about playing for 60 plus minutes,” said manager Fergal Ryan.
Ryan added: “We were well in control both on the scoreboard and on the pitch and for some strange reason the intensity dropped and Erin's Own took full advantage.”
Getting into dogfights in championship games will test the credentials of any side and Ryan is hoping that this will not be a trend for the remainder of the campaign.
“The bottom is we have to put teams away when getting on top early as dogfights are not good for the heart but on a positive note the lads stood up to be counted and found the crucial scores.”
The overall performance wasn’t one that pleased Ryan.
“No I am not jumping for joy as we only played in patches and I suppose as a coaching staff we are always looking for near perfection and consistency. Look we came with just one thing on our minds and that was achieved.”
The Rockies haven’t won a Cork championship since 2003 and Ryan believes they will have to end that drought sooner than later.
“We are going in the right direction but we are a little away from a county but the work will continue and now we have to focus on our next game against Newtownshandrum hoping for a better performance.”
The mood in the Erin's Own camp was naturally one of disappointment as manager Martin Bowen reflected on his team’s performance.
“We just never started and when you play teams like Blackrock they will punish you and that’s the reality about this championship,” said Bowen.
“Despite starting too slow we still had chances to win the game and we can have few cribs as this is championship hurling and if you are not ready to compete over the throw in the end result will always be a bad one,” added Bowen.
The introduction of Kieran ‘Hero’ Murphy brought life into Erin's Own and Bowen was quick to praise the dedication and skills of his 37-year-old stalwart.
“What a wonderful man he is, and you saw today his presence when introduced changed the whole game for us but it wasn’t to be, and we must go again next weekend against Bishopstown and get the all-important win.”