WHEN you have lost the last three Seandún Junior A Hurling Championship finals there is bound to be a feeling of wariness as you get ready to compete in your fourth decider.
On Sunday, at Ballinlough, 3.30pm, Brian Dillon’s will be hoping to end that losing hoodoo when they play Whitechurch in a game sure to attract a bumper attendance.
This season the Tank Field outfit have recruited the former Sarsfields coach Barry Myers to help them reach the Holy Grail.
“The bottom line is that Dillon’s have lost the last three finals in the city and speaking to the players maybe the reason is that they had their focus on winning the county but this year I can guarantee you the word county hasn’t been mentioned in our camp.”
Learning from defeat is crucial.
“I am hoping the hurt built up over the last few years will help us on this occasion, but this is not a foregone conclusion as we are facing a quality hurling side in Whitechurch,” added Myers.
Going into finals, experience can prove to be an ace card.
“This Whitechurch side have never experienced a city championship side at this level and I am hoping our stalwarts like John Horgan and Darragh Rodgers will be leaders on the day.”
Myers is no stranger to success having won major championships at the Riverstown club.
“The east Cork division at junior level is definitely stronger than the city as in 2016 I managed Sars to the East Cork title before losing to Mayfield in the county final. With no disrespect to the Seandún division, there are more quality sides at this level in east Cork and it’s probably the main reason why Dillon’s have struggled for county success.”
The first aspect Myers and his management team looked at was balance.
“My first job was convincing them that two or three players do not win you championships and the basis for success is winning as a team and to be fair that’s been the trend all season. We have a system and gradually the players have bought into it. We are undefeated in both league and championship this season.”
There will be no excuses on Sunday if they fail to win.
“The time for looking for excuses is finished and for me the most important issue on Sunday will be our discipline that has cost this team over the years and my players have been truly warned.”
Myers believes his side will have to bring their A game to the table against Whitechurch.
“What impressed me most about Whitechurch was their work rate and their accuracy as they showed in their wins over Nemo Rangers and Passage.
“In their win over Passage they had only one wide and that’s incredible over 60-plus minutes of competitive hurling.”
Preparations have been intense for Brian Dillon’s as Myers has put his team through rigorous training for this decider.
“The way hurling is gone now if your work-rate is not up to the mark you will not win games of this magnitude.”
The scoring artistry of the Whitechurch forwards has lit up this championship.
“When you look at the semi-final against a good Passage side they trailed by 2-1 after six minutes and many teams would have panicked in that situation.
“Credit to them they stayed in the game and some of their points were right from the top drawer and in the end it was their will to win got them into this final and they will fancy their chances.”
His brother Tom is a member of Brian Dillon’s for many years and eventually got Barry on board.
“I have the same management team as I had with Sars as these lads were with me when we won the Premier Minor in 2014, east Cork Junior A championship of 2016 and the U21 A Premier hurling championship in 2017.
“To be honest as a group we know how to get teams over the line and no stone has been left unturned in our bid to win this city championship.
“Personally I know it’s imperative that we win this final as this club have been in 11 finals in the last 15 years and only won three and it’s time to put all that to bed and get ourselves out of the rut in losing finals.”