IT’S a moment they won’t forget too easily in Knocknagree — the sound of Cormac Dineen’s final whistle in Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday.
A sea of blue and white celebrated in the stands as the inspirational Matthew Dilworth became the third captain to raise the Donal O’Sullivan Cup.
They were clued in straight from the off, even though many of the players wouldn’t have been familiar with Páirc Uí Rinn.
“That is what we were looking for,” said a delighted Dilworth afterwards. “A few points went over, and it settled us. 26 years is a long time to wait for this. I am playing 13 years. When John Fintan Daly took over we were looking to win Duhallow finals. And to go from that to intermediate now is a dream to come through really.”
Dilworth, Anthony O’Connor, Danny Cooper and John Fintan Daly nailed those early points, and when James Dennehy scored one of the goals of the season they were well on their way, 1-5 to 0-3. By half-time, the lead had grown to double figures.
Erin’s Own made more of a game of it in the second-half, but it was too high a mountain to climb. They got it back to four points but could get no closer.
The fitness and skill level of the winners noticeable. Manager/coach John Fintan Daly was keen to remember a former coach who had helped them along the way.
“We brought a harder edge to our team in the last couple of years and you need to be able to do that. I want to mention my management team. Ed Sweeney and Billy O’Neill have been with me since the start. We are training with John Horgan, another great guy.
“A very important man to remember is Sean Walsh. He was our strength and conditioning coach for four years.
“He is with a Kerry club now. He played and soldiered with me in Duhallow. I don’t want to forget Sean. He had a big role to play in conditioning the team.”
In the parish of Rathmore, Knocknagree have Cork intermediate football to look forward to next year.
The way they were able to knock over scores from play suggests they will blend in nicely.
And as one Duhallow team leaves the grade, another slips in.
While Dennehy took full advantage of an Anthony O’Connor assist for the first goal, the second-major in stoppage time was agonizing for goalkeeper Darren O’Sullivan who came outfield in vain to intercept Anthony O’Connor. It left John Fintan Daly running towards an empty goal and he couldn’t miss the target. Overall, supporters and fans will be thrilled with their team.
How they won possession, and were so quickly out to the ball. All six forwards did their job.
Dilworth and Anthony shared 11 points between them, Eoghan McSweeney chipped in with a brace.
Danny Cooper, operating out around the middle scored two also, helped by Padraig Collins.
There was impressive covering as well by the backs. All too often, they don’t get enough mention.
Every one of them were magnificent. Special mention to Kealan Buckley who pulled off a crucial save when Erin’s Own were fighting back, and Patrick Doyle who dived low to save the penalty – at another critical juncture.
Their link-up play was admirable. Munster club championship also beckons next weekend against the Tipperary county champions Knockavilla Donaskeigh Kickhams in Cork.
On top of that, there is a big fundraiser coming up on November 17 in the INEC in Killarney. The club is looking to raise €200,000. There should be no shortage of support after this great win.