HE has led all season by example and his head was still held high despite the heartbreak of enduring a one-point loss in extra-time in the All-Ireland Club JHC semi-final at the Fraher Field on Sunday.
Mark Verling, like the rest of his Cloughduv teammates, had given everything in the loss to Kilkenny champions Dunnammagin and he was proud of the effort and their season’s achievements.
“It’s terribly disappointing to lose this way, a point in extra-time is hard to take but I think everybody gave it their best out there.
“We got a slow start but recovered well and when we went a point up going into injury time I thought we might have had it.
“But they got the equaliser at the other end and we went back in to re-group. It was hard going into extra-time, the bodies were tired and sore but we are extremely proud of the performance and now it’s a case of looking forward to the first-round of the intermediate hurling championship in the coming months.’’
Winning Mid Cork, the Cork County championship and the Munster title represented a great year for the Mid Cork club, something that Verling acknowledged.
“It was a great season for us, the Mid Cork title was obviously the first target and then winning the county title was a great thing for us.
“The club had lost two finals so to come back and win one was great for everybody.
!Winning Munster and getting into an All-Ireland semi-final was huge for us and the club and it would have been great to get to Croke Park.
“But it wasn’t to be and we just have to re-group again now for the IHL and then the championship in Cork.
“We started training this time last year and you set your goals and we achieved everything that we set out to do.
“After winning the Cork County title we were in bonus territory and the win in the Munster final was great because we looked to be in big trouble at one stage.’’ He acknowledged that Dunnammagin were a very good side and thought that they were that slight bit better in the end.
“They are a good, strong team and I hope that they go on and win it out now.
“It’s hard to take when you are so close to Croke Park and we have been going non stop for the bones of 12 months.
“ But when you are on a run like this you look forward to hurling and if we are told to go back next week into training, so be it and we will.
“But, hopefully, we’ll get a bit of a break. Our goal next season now is intermediate and doing as well as we can in that.
“We can take an awful lot from today, we showed great courage to respond after a poor start.
“When you go to extra-time it’s a toss of a coin really, you just don’t know how it’s going to go.