MALLOW and Carrigaline played out a closely fought Cork Premier IHC at Ballincollig on Sunday, the north Cork men narrowly coming out on top, 3-15 to 1-20.
The second-half was played out on a knife edge as the lead changed hands constantly.
While there were many individual performances of note, central to the victory was a personal haul of 2-7 from Mallow forward Sean Hayes.
Mallow manager Fergal McCormack said they were ready for the challenge.
“We prepared well and we felt we were in good shape coming into the game. As I just said there now to our boys, games take a life of their own. We got a couple of goals, they came back at us, and we were down two points in the second half but we showed real leadership from a number of players throughout the pitch which was fantastic.
“The goal before half-time meant we went in two points up. It gave us a bit of a cushion, there was a bit of a breeze going down into that goal. That was not a fluke either.
"In a couple of our league matches, we have scored 31- and 32-minute goals and they are a real fillip. You could say it is a coincidence but it has happened a couple of times which is great.
“Sean Hayes is a fantastic player and you want him in a number of positions. Carrigaline found him a handful. We had other players around the pitch too that performed.
"In defence Darragh Moynihan and Fionn O’Neill who are stalwarts of the team for the last number of years. Pa Herlihy, I thought when he went out around midfield was fantastic and Kenneth Mills. To a man they were brilliant.”
Mallow were minus their county player Cormac Murphy who is sidelined due to injury.
“We knew he had a groin injury for the last couple of weeks. It was been looked at by physios but we knew during the week he wouldn’t be playing.
“The way the inter-county is these days, he hasn’t been with us all year. It wasn’t disrupting anything. This is a very tough competition. There was nothing in it today. Carrigaline will have a big say going forward.”
Like most management teams, they are faced with a break until the third round.
“Our first-year as a management team was last year, we didn’t really know what to do after we won our first round. There was a couple of months break, we kept training.
"Sometimes you think it might get stale for us and the players. So, we will try and manage it a bit differently this year. Everyone is trying to win the championship, that is our ultimate goal.”