WHEN you eliminate the county champions and the best team in the county for the past few years, you have every reason to have a little celebration afterward.
Na Piarsaigh did that last Saturday night after taking the considerable scalp of Glen Rovers but it will be back to work on the training ground tonight in Farranree as they now focus all their attention on Bandon in the quarter-final, which takes place in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday week. It'll be the main event of a double-header including Blackrock and Newcestown, with the winners meeting in the last four.
Team manager Stephen O’Sullivan had nothing but praise for his players after their one point victory over their near neighbours but, at the same time, he made it quite clear that the road ahead will be every bit as difficult as it was in Páirc Uí Rinn last Saturday night, a 1-12 to 0-14 victory.
“I am over the moon, my heart is still beating and the biggest emotion here is one of pride. We knew the Glen would come back into it and they did that, drew level there near the end, had a goal chance but Paul, he’s my brother, I must give him some credit, made a great save, it was unbelievable really.
“We worked it up the pitch then and Padraig Guest, he missed all of last year with an injury, wins the ball and gets a free which he put between the post.
“That young fellow has put in a huge amount of work to get back, he’s up in the field all the time practicing those frees.
“He had nerves of steel there with that free. He was able to stand there with crowd on top of him, there was so much pressure on him with that last puck but he stood up to it, we knew that he would.’’
O’Sullivan believed that getting out of the traps so quickly, going 1-5 to 0-1 in front, was a huge factor overall.
“We started off very, very well. In the first 20 minutes we should have got three goals, we didn’t but we still built up a handy lead but, as I said, we knew they’d come back.
“Our lads tired for a bit in the second-half, we could not win primary possession and we were a bit lucky that their shooting was not as good as it usually is.
“It’s been a tough couple of years and we spoke about that. It was hard to watch the cup going to Blackpool but there’s no better feeling now that we have knocked them out.
The former star player acknowledged that they’ll have to come back down from the high fairly quickly because there’s nothing won at all yet.
“Definitely, I spoke to them in there and we don’t want this to be seen as a flash in the pan.
“We are going out playing Bandon the next day and they are flying at the moment, they have had a great few years, I saw a bit of their game there with Ballymartle, they are a physical outfit and they are well able to take their scores.
“We need to be ready for them, to have the same intensity that we had there and to prove to ourselves, not just the people in Cork hurling that we are here to stay.
“We have young fellows that have the heart and the commitment but the biggest problem now is to come back down to earth.
“But I am sure Darren (Mannix) and Seán Óg (who missed the game due to holidays) will do that on Tuesday night when we get back out on the pitch.’’