ST FINBARR'S midfielder Ian Maguire feels that the team have learned on the job as they have progressed to a first county SFC final in seven years.
Sunday’s win over reigning champions Carbery Rangers saw the Barrs through to the decider. It all seems a long way from the 13-point defeat to Ballincollig in the first round, as five wins since August 19 have put them on the right track, with a final meeting with Nemo Rangers awaiting on Sunday week.
Cork star Maguire believes that the team have responded very well to their spring setback.
“Last year, we played Nemo and we lost but we put up a good fight against them,” he said.
“Maybe we thought that we’d be able to stroll up against Ballincollig and beat them but there’s a certain standard you have to be at, you have to have your house in order tactics-wise and everything.
“We learned a few lessons from that game. A team like Ballincollig are top three and they showed us how to play. We showed then in the quarter-final that we had learned, it has been a case of learning with every game, really.
“We’ve had a tough road going through the back door. We’re still a young team and we’ve a lot of lessons to learn but we just keep building.
“We’ve Nemo in the final, they are the standard when it comes to Cork football and they’re a very strong team, we know we’ll be up against it but we’re looking forward to the challenge too.”
Momentum has grown game on game during the autumn, and Maguire agrees that it has helped that that games have come at regular intervals.
“Sometimes, it can be a pain,” he said, “but we had a few injuries at the start of the year and they cleared up.
“We worked on a small few things and then it all started to come together.
“People know with the back door that you’ve a good chance to build up momentum if you get a run of games.
“We built with the wins over Newcestown, Bishopstown and CIT, and then when we played Ballincollig I thought we were firing on all cylinders.
“I think we got the benefit of having the games behind us and we had the advantage of being at the pace of the game, we were able to get on top early.
“That’ll be a different story now in the final against Nemo. They’ve county medals in their back pockets, we don’t.”
For many on the Barrs team, Maguire included, it will be a first senior level. He admits that there will be nerves, but he’s looking to channel them positively.
“I think nerves can be a good thing,” he said, “to honest, I suffer from them.
“There are a lot of lads in our dressing room that played in the final seven years ago – I remember watching it, it’s weird, it doesn’t feel like seven years ago.
“We know that we’re up against it. Nemo are experienced and they hold all the aces but we’ll go back to the drawing board and train hard.
“We’re looking forward to it, the fact that it’s in Páirc Uí Chaoimh adds another level of anticipation.”