Erin's Own boss believes Cork club hurling standard has risen again

East Cork club lifted the Cork hurling title in 2006 and 2007
Erin's Own boss believes Cork club hurling standard has risen again

Erin's Own captain Kieran Murphy and his brother Eoghan lift the Seán Óg Murphy Cup in 2007, retaining the title against Newtown. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

RETAINING a title in either hurling or football has proved to be a bridge too far for many teams.

On the national front the most glaring example of this is Tipperary’s failure to retain the MacCarthy Cup since the years 1964 and 1965.

On the home front, Imokilly landed three in a row in the Cork County SHC while in the very recent past and Glen Rovers did it too in 2016.

However, title retention is not easy for some reason and if you go back over the past 20 years you had two of the most successful clubs in that time, Newtownshandrum and Sarsfields failing to do so although in that period they took possession of the old trophy four times each.

Sars won it every second year, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 while Newtown won it in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2009.

Erin’s Own won the title in 2006 and retained it again in 2007 and current team boss and new club secretary, Martin Bowen was at the helm the first year.

Erin's Own's manager Martin Bowen guided his team to a county semi-final last season. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Erin's Own's manager Martin Bowen guided his team to a county semi-final last season. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

He acknowledges that winning the Cork SHC two years on the trot is not easy.

“Obviously, we were delighted to do it but it’s not easy and that has been proved down the years. You could say that there might be a few reasons why it’s so hard to put back to back titles together.

“Firstly, I would say that the other teams that are challenging you become a bit more familiar the next year.

“Maybe a bit of overconfidence creeps in too and players might think that what you did once you can do again the next time.

The championship in Cork has become very competitive now with a good number of teams in with a realistic chance of winning it.

“It’s a very even championship now I would say and it’s also a very good championship.

“Also a team might have a new player or two the first year who would make a big impact but the second year he would be more of a marked man.

“When Newtown were at their tops they were involved in the Munster and All-Ireland club championship and they had a long year and a short turnaround before they started up again in the Cork championship.

“You have to factor in all those things and when you are up there at the top all the others will be out to knock you off." 

Interesting theories from the Erin’s Own boss, one of the teams that will have the Rockies in their sights this season whenever that commences. But long gone are the days when a club might win two, three, four or more in a row.

The Glen won eight titles in a row between the years 1934 and 1941, imagine that happening now.

The Rockies had teams too in the distant past that won numerous titles from one year to the next whilst the footballers of Nemo won four in a row in the years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

This year the focus will be on the Rockies to see if they can win the title that they so gloriously won in 2020.

Prior to that, the Church Road club had not won the title since 2002 and they were defending champions going into that year after their success of 2001 so the portents might be strong.

But the most important point that was made by the Erin’s Own boss Bowen was the now very competitive nature of the Cork SHC.

DOMINANCE

Long gone are the days when the city trio of the Rockies, Barrs and Glen almost had the competition to themselves.

In total they have won the title 85 times between them, the Rockies on 33, the Glen on 27 and the Barrs on 25. Next in the rankings are Midleton with seven titles followed by Sars on six with Imokilly now on five.

The current Rockies outfit seem to be in a good place as far as strongly challenging for the title again and they also have the depth of resources to do so.

But is there a clear favourite at this point in time. One would say there’s not and you could select six or seven teams who will be in contention.

The Rockies were not in a good place after their 2019 loss to Newtownshandrum but 12 months later they were champions.

And they are one of the more fancied sides again but the others have them in their sights now.

There are counties where clubs are retaining the title from one year to the next and in the lesser competitive ones a team might win a title six or seven times.

That’s not the case here and in both codes, the competition is hotting up the whole time.

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