THE celebrations in Cobh on Saturday night showed how much victory meant to Killeagh.
They edged Douglas after a close battle in round 2B of the Cork senior hurling championship. The mood was best summed up by manager Mark Landers.
“Tonight, is all about Killeagh. A massive night for the club, a massive night for the team and the management and the backroom staff. We are training a long time and we have got a just reward.
"We have come out on the right side of a tight game which is fantastic from our point of view.
“We were given a very hard draw at the start of the season, we got Erin’s Own in the first round. They had been in the county final last year.
"Then to get the favourites Douglas who had two new recruits from last year in Cian McCarthy and Shane Bourke. You look at the spattering of inter-county players that they have.
“I was involved a number of years ago when we played Blackrock in Midleton and we came out on the right side of the result as well. Tonight, is special, but it is more special because two years ago the club made a decision to stay up senior after being relegated.
"Building on last year’s success, you couldn’t be more proud of the way the players responded. The last 18 months have been very dark.
“We are looking forward now to the next round which is Carbery and trying to get the sore bodies prepared and back up for the fight again. We have been waiting 11 or 12 weeks to play this game.
"That is a massive amount of time but I said to our players all along, there are four or five teams out of the senior championship and would you prefer to be out or still in it, no matter how long you have to wait.
“The universal decision was that we would want to wait. We were all behind Cork, we were all in Croke Park last Sunday hoping Cork would get to an All-Ireland final. But we were prepared for the 19th (August) and I suppose from a Douglas perspective it must have been hard for them to get their players together.
"But look tonight is about us and the supporters. The last four or five minutes I could see the fist-pumping and the roaring from our own people.”
Players stood up and were counted.
“Eoghan Keniry absolutely lit up the field. He has had injuries, so has Gary Leahy. We had a lot of injuries coming in tonight.
"For me, late in the game Brendan Barry who is always a great servant of the club scored a massive point when we needed it. Pa O’Brien at centre-back, and Sean Long did a great job on Alan Cadogan.
"We had 19 absolute heroes. We brought on four substitutes and every one of them contributed to the victory. We have a lovely panel of players and a few who couldn’t make it tonight.”