BLACKROCK are still on track to get back into the county final and try to go one better than last season when they lost to Imokilly but in the aftermath of their victory over Ballymartle last Sunday, team boss Fergal Ryan believes that they must improve quite a bit.
“We are happy to have won here but, overall, I believe that we have a lot to work on before facing the Barrs next Saturday.
“I don’t think that performance today will be good enough against the Barrs and we will definitely be looking for improvements.
“But, look, today was about winning, getting the job done because we were up against Ballymartle, a team that always proved difficult for us over the last number of years.
“We had only a two-point lead at half-time and that was a concern because if they got one or two early scores or a goal it would test the character of our players.
“But, to be fair, we were the ones that went out and got a few early points and whilst we were never comfortable, we always had that gap. We kept it at four or five points and that was good.’’
It had been a long wait for another championship encounter and Ryan admitted that maybe that was a factor in the side not hitting huge heights.
“It could be but it is the same thing for all the clubs who have had to wait a long time since the last championship game.
“But we have a game under our belt now and, hopefully, that will whet the appetite for what’s to come.
“There are three more games to win a county final and there’s massive incentive there to win it but, it’s like any year, the other teams that reach the quarter-finals, they’ll be saying the same and we know that we’ll have to be better to beat the Barrs."
After losing to Imokilly last season, Ryan admitted there is a great desire within the club to get back there again and travel that extra mile.
“That’s the goal, we set out at the start of the year with that as the aim.
"Today we got over another hurdle, we have another one now next Saturday, a bigger one.
“The Barrs game will bring plenty of local rivalry. They had a great win over Douglas, they were a fancied team to win it this year, that will stand to them.
“I am guessing they’ll be a lot of passion in that game, there’s always a lot at stake when we meet each other.’’
And, after all, the Barrs and Rockies has a special flavour all of its own.
“Yes, I can remember playing the Barrs when we were two of the teams that were always going to be in the top six or seven.
“They have a lot of young players and they’ll bring plenty of pride and passion and we must be able to match that.
“Hopefully, it will be a ding-dong battle and that at the end of it we are on the right side of the result.
“But we'll have to wait and see but we certainly will not be looking beyond this game."