'All these lads love hurling for UCC and they showed that'

'All these lads love hurling for UCC and they showed that'

UCC’s Anthony Spillane gathers the ball from Midleton’s Alywin Kearney. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

UCC team manager Martin Walsh was quick to praise the contribution of others in the aftermath of the student’s thrilling win over Midleton at Páirc Uí Rinn last Sunday night.

With the elimination of champions Glen Rovers a week earlier, UCC’s performance against another one of the very fancied teams has catapulted them right into the mix of contenders for the title. It was a great achievement for Walsh, but he heaped the praise on his talented team. The College were able to call on Cork aces Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Colm Spillane, along with Tipp's Michael Breen and Waterford's Jamie Barron, Tom Devine and Conor Gleeson.

“Midleton are an unbelievable club and we knew we would have to bring everything. The lads were told beforehand that if they were to lay down a marker they would have to do it against a top club team and they did that.

“Midleton looked like they had us when they went two points ahead there coming near to the finish but to get the last four scores of the game showed the character of the players in this UCC squad. All these lads love hurling for UCC, they want to play for UCC and they showed that here." 

Walsh, a Ballinacurra native, had warm words of praise for the Development Officer in the college, John Grainger and for everybody else who lends a hand.

"Grainger deserves great credit, the amount of organisation work that he puts in is unbelievable. He rounds all these players up, arranges everything for us. He gets the players together and I am just very proud to be associated with UCC. He asked me in here a few years ago and there’s a great bunch involved."

Tom Kenny is coaching the team.  

"He is cutting his teeth in coaching and I have no doubt that he will be a top class coach one day." 

Joy for UCC manager Martin Walsh and his players. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Joy for UCC manager Martin Walsh and his players. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Walsh admitted that the game was in the melting pot all through.

“I thought that it was a great game of hurling. I don’t know how often the teams were level, there was never anything in it but we just got there in the end.

“We had a strong team out tonight and credit to them for making the effort. Tom Devine there, he’s just back from America.

“We have Sars now next, we won’t fully know who we’ll have next weekend but we’ll be hoping that most of these players are available again."

UCC's Michael Breen wins the ball from Midleton's Killian Burke. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
UCC's Michael Breen wins the ball from Midleton's Killian Burke. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Walsh is expecting another very tough challenge from Sars next Sunday afternoon.

“They’ll be just as difficult to defeat as Midleton were. They are a great club too with unbelievably good players.

“Hopefully, this game will bring us on that bit extra and we in the college will look forward to it.

“This win here won’t stand for too much if we don’t progress further and we must be at our best again next time.’’ 

UCC’s last title win was back in 1970 and there are many obstacles still in front of them if they are to end that long wait. However, the current squad is one of the strongest they have had for some time and they certainly delivered a strong message of intent here.

For Midleton, it’s the end of another championship journey and the wait to build on their last title win in 2013 must go on.

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