IT’S all of 28 years ago now since Erin’s Own joined the elite of Cork hurling by winning the senior championship for the first time.
It was a memorable Sunday afternoon in October for all those associated with the Caherlag club because in the preceding years there was little to suggest that the name of Erin’s Own was going to be inscribed on the famed Seán Óg Murphy cup.
It was even suggested by one scribe, mentioning no names, that they’d be better off re-grading to intermediate.
That bit of advice certainly wasn’t taken and 12 months later they were the cream of the crop of Cork hurling.
Current team boss, Martin Bowen was club secretary in that year of 1992 and he fondly recalls the events that led to Frank Horgan climbing the steps of the covered stand in Páirc Uí Chaoimh to receive the silverware.
“We certainly would not have been one of the favourites and we were quite fortunate to win the first round against the Glen.
“We beat them in a replay after they had squandered an opportunity to win it the first day when one of their players went for a goal when a point would have sufficed to win it.
“His shot was saved by Ray O’Connor and we beat them in the second match. We certainly took a bit of momentum from that because in the previous years thy had beaten us as had the Rockies and Sars.
“Yes, we were advised to re-grade and we laugh about that to this day with the person who wrote it! I won’t mention his name but he’s a good friend of mine for many years now."
In the games that followed, Erin’s Own saw off the challenge of two very good hurling teams, UCC and Imokilly and suddenly they were in a county final against Na Piarsaigh, title winners themselves two years earlier and favourites to regain the crown.
“UCC and Imokilly always had good hurlers but we got past both and then it all started in earnest, the build-up to our first final.
“We had very good lads on the team, Tony O’Keeffe, PJ Murphy who was also a selector Razor O’Connor, Frank Horgan, Damien Long, Timmy Kelleher and so on and we had a very young Brian Corcoran.
“You had Billy Hegarty, Ned Flynn and PJ as selectors and the momentum just grew and grew.
“There was a massive sense of anticipation in the parish leading up to the big day, the women in the club made flags which we sold and what we got the money that was made sent on to Fr Martin Barry in Kenya.
“There was a fierce buzz in training but we had to manage it too, there was a county final to be played and that is what it was all about.
“It’s no good playing the occasion, you must be fully concentrated on the match otherwise it will pass you by.’’
Bowen describes the final as being a nip and tuck affair right to the end with the verdict just going to the new champions by two points.
“It was a bit of a cliff-hanger, in doubt right to the end but we managed to hold out and win by two points.
“Everybody contributed that day and I mean that, there were heroes everywhere but for one so young, Brian Corcoran was majestic, Timmy too, all of them.
“The big thing about it was that all of them were from the parish of Glounthaune, that was unusual but they were all home-grown."
And the homecoming that night was something he will never forget.
“Firstly, the scenes on the pitch were incredible, people could not talk with excitement, realising the magnitude of what our players had done.
“We were a very small club and after Midleton in 1983 we had broken the monopoly the city clubs had enjoyed for so long.
“We went down to Harbour Point GC after the game for a meal and then on to Glounthaune. There were some incredible scenes on the road, everybody was there waiting for us.
“There as so much joy around and we ended up in the old Ashbourne House Hotel that night.
“We took the cup around the parish in the days that followed, around to the schools and that victory started off the whole thing. We won two more titles in 2006 and 2007 but you never forget your first, no club ever does.”
It was just an incredible journey for everyone, hard to believe it’s 28 years ago.
The Erin’s Own team on that memorable day was: R O’Connor; D Long, B O’Shea, C Dillon; T O’Keefe, T Kelleher, J Dillon; F Horgan, K Horgan; P Geasley, B Corcoran, J Corcoran; PJ Murphy, B O’Neill, M Nicholls.
Sub: Cian O’Connor.