ONCE the final whistle sounded at Páirc Uí Rinn last Saturday night in the quarter-final of the Cork County IHC, Fr O’Neill’s thoughts turned immediately to Charleville, led by Cork ace Darragh Fitzgibbon, in next weekend’s semi-final.
Kilworth had asked a lot of big questions of them in a fine game of hurling but the East Cork team held firm to reach the last four.
After the game team boss, Dave Colbert told the Echo that it was a tough examination of their credentials but that they were delighted to come through the way that they did.
“We got there, that was the main thing but it was a tight game and it was one that we expected.
“Our boys stood up at vital times and delivered, to be fair to them. Kilworth got a run on us there a few times but we stood up and we just had to.
“We finished strong too which was very important and we defended well there in the last couple of minutes when the game was still in the balance.’’
The first-half goals, secured by star players Deccie Dalton and Billy Dunne were, according to Colbert, big scores.
“They definitely were. They were taken well too and that is something we look for in every game.
“Creating those chances and taking them are what it’s all about. We created a few more but we didn’t take them. We had a lot of wides, into double figures, but that will happen in every game. The lads were under pressure out there from Kilworth and you didn’t get much time on the ball.
“But even the fellows who had wides reacted well and put a few over afterwards and that was good from our viewpoint.
“That showed the character of them and that is something we’d be happy about,’’ Colbert admitted that Kilworth were difficult opponents on the night.
“They were, as I said we knew they would be. They had beaten one of the favourites in Mallow.
“There is a great history between ourselves and Mallow, going back 10 to 13 years and you never get anything easy off them. But we have good, solid lads, they work fierce hard and I was delighted there in the end.
“It’s another good win but there won’t be anyone getting carried away with this result. It’s a quick turnaround for us now and we have another huge game coming up in the semi-final with Charleville.
“But that’s what you want, we were waiting around the whole summer for matches and now we have plenty of them and that’s what you want at this stage in the season.
“Charleville are tough, they are favourites in the bookies. We are the last favourites of the four but we are looking forward now to going back out next weekend and see how it goes.
“We got the job done here but we move on now.’’