RUSSELL Rovers have managed to shrug off the disappointment of coming up short to Cloughduv in the 2018 JAHC final by booking their spot back in the showpiece game last Saturday.
In almost perfect conditions for October championship hurling the East Cork side looked good for the majority of the game with Newmarket and were fully deserving of the victory.
While the display was clinical from the victors, it wasn’t perfect however manager Michael Mannion wasn’t about to pick holes in the display on the final whistle.
“A win is a win and that is the important part,” Mannion stated after his side’s progression to the final was confirmed.
“It was a tough physical game. Newmarket put it up to us throughout coming back into it in the second half. They stopped us playing for about 10 minutes of that second half but we weathered the storm and thankfully finished strong.”
Last year’s loss in the championship game was a blow however the boys in black and amber set them an ambitious goal from their first meeting this season.
"That (getting to the final) was one of the targets we would have set ourselves at the start of the year. Not an easy task.
"Seven matches to win to get here. Other teams have won county titles with just four games played so you can see why we are very happy with the win securing our place in the final.”
Mannion was confident that his side had what it took to get past the north Cork side and was full of admiration for their players however his side had the work done on and off the field and that the manager felt may have been the difference.
“We knew what Newmarket were going to bring. We knew they were going to be very physical. They have a couple of very good hurlers but they have lots of very good footballers as well so we knew what they were going to bring.
"We watched a few videos on them and that all helped.”
Strength in depth is another major factor for Rovers and Mannion was keen to point out the importance of all players putting in a good shift.
“I think we have a really good squad with us. We have used 22 already this year so it shows that we do have faith in the bench and not just in the 15 men that start.”
“Sunday fortnight will be something to look forward to for all of us. We will look to get ready from now and hopefully be able to go one step further than last year. It would be massive for the area if we can get up playing intermediate hurling. Massive”