VALLEY Rovers’ year didn’t get off to the best of starts, losing to Kilworth by eight points back in April.
Now, however, they find themselves back in form and back to where they’re used to being - the quarter-finals of the PIHC after impressively seeing off the challenge of Ballincollig in Cloughduv on Saturday evening.
Manager John Hurley was as happy as you’d expect in the aftermath.
“Listen, if you’d told me that we’d be in a quarter-final of a county last April after Kilworth beating us I’d have eaten the hand off you. I’m absolutely delighted. We’re improving, still I don’t think we’re where we want to get to. But we’re there.
“To be in a quarter-final of a county is fantastic, that’s what we aim for, I’m not sure who we’re playing next, I think it’s Fr O’Neill’s or Blarney. We’ve got to keep improving and that’s our goal all year.
“We got a bad start to the year but we’re after building massive momentum now. We’re after three massive games now, three wins against Watergrasshill in the league final, beat Cloyne and beat Ballincollig today.”
A comfortable victory didn’t seem likely at half-time and Hurley was thrilled with how his side responded to the challenge.
“We were in a bad place there at half-time. We weren’t playing well even though we were a point up. I though then that the first 20 minutes of the second half were outstanding.
“We did start a bit flat after the break but we’d a 15-minute spell then where we tore them to pieces and of course, the goal was a big turning point in the match and it killed Ballincollig’s momentum. We’re delighted.”
While they did lead at the break, their eight wides must have been a concern for him and his management team?
“We spoke about that, obviously. We put Chris O’Leary in as a target-man in the second-half and I think it worked for us and we were unlucky not to get a goal, their ‘keeper made two fantastic saves but we used the ball a bit smarter.
“We were playing well in patches but it’s about continuity from that but some of the hurling we played wasn’t up to standard and we know that.”
Valley Rovers is one of the many club that face the dual dilemma but for Hurley, it’s not an issue.
“We don’t mind, we’re a dual club and these lads are great. We’re playing Newcestown in the senior football. We train together and our footballers trained last Sunday morning, six days before hurling championship and that’s the mindset in Valleys.
“And it’ll be the same again next week.”