THE long wait since 1985 for a Cork SFC title was finally ended for St Finbarr’s during the championship year just gone by.
After suffering the hurt of losing in the previous final after a replay against Nemo Rangers, the Barrs were fully determined to come back this campaign all guns blazing and doing all within their power to bring the Andy Scannell cup back to Togher.
That is what they duly did in 2018. Following victories along the way over Carrigaline, Mallow, Douglas and Carbery Rangers, Duhallow were the opponents lying in wait in the final.
The Barr’s subsequently and successfully came out on top. There were emotional scenes upon the full-time whistle on that October afternoon at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
A long famine without a senior county football title was ended. Everyone associated with St Finbarr’s was keen to soak every single second of this success in.
One man that was central to the memorable success of The Barrs was Ian Maguire.
He was in Rearden's on Wednesday evening, as he was awarded the Footballer of the year accolade for 2018.
“It was a super year to be fair,” declared the 24-year-old.
“When you end a 33-year drought it is always going to be a great year. It was a great feeling, we just want to drive that on now for the next couple of years.
“I think there is a real opportunity to stake a claim over the next couple of years, especially from a Barrs perspective.
“You just have to keep driving it on. There is a lot of good teams there. I was talking to the likes of Seamus Hickey in Rearden's, Duhallow are very good and there is no doubt they will be coming again.
“The likes of Nemo are there or thereabouts every year. So I suppose it is just welcoming the challenge now of next year as being champions.”
A leader in every sense of the word, Maguire was sensational every single time he donned a Barrs blue jersey during the campaign just gone by. Winning the Andy Scannell Cup is very high up in the list of achievements from his footballing career to date.
“It is number one for me. Just meeting people afterwards and seeing how much it meant. Michael Shields is an idol of mine, I would have played with him with Cork also for a couple of years.
“He represented The Barrs and Cork for so long. The first thing he said to me after the county final was that this win meant more to him than any other thing with Cork ever.
“That resonated with me a bit. It showed, also with the likes of Robert O’Mahony, what they have gone through. Relegation and promotion from intermediate, losing county finals to Nemo. It showed how much winning the county with St Finbarr’s meant to them.
“Helping get the likes of them over the line is kind of what it is all about. That is what the club scene is all about.”
Now they have finally got their hands on the Cork SFC crown, one of the next challenges now for 2019 will be for St Finbarr’s to go out and try and retain the title.
“That is going to be our biggest challenge,” adds Maguire.
“If you look at the last couple of years with the likes of Ballincollig, Nemo and Carbery Rangers, they weren’t able to retain the title.
“That shows you the kind of challenges that are there. There is lessons to be learnt from other clubs and hopefully we take them on board for next year.”