Special effort to recording Blackrock's brilliance in a year like no other

Club savoured a first senior hurling title since 2002 last season
Special effort to recording Blackrock's brilliance in a year like no other

Robbie Cotter, Blackrock, celebrates his goal in extra time against Glen Rovers in the Co-Op Superstores Premier Hurling final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Dan Linehan

BLACKROCK’S wonderful Cork County SHC triumph last season has been superbly documented in book form and recalls the journey that was embarked upon to ensure that the lengthy famine in Church Road came to an end.

The project was the brainchild of club stalwart Jim Healy and there was widespread encouragement for it within the club.

The journey through the initial rounds of the competition right through to the knockout stages are recalled by another club stalwart, Roger Ryan, who has compiled each match report, championship scorers and team lineouts.

The title of the book, Champions Again, features on its front page a delightful picture of team captain Michael O’Halloran and vice-captain Cathal Cormack holding aloft the Seán Óg Murphy Cup.

Blackrock’s Michael O'Halloran and Cathal McCormack lift the trophy. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Blackrock’s Michael O'Halloran and Cathal McCormack lift the trophy. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Only a very limited number of spectators were present for the great occasion when the Church Road club got the better of great rivals Glen Rovers in the first all-city final for years but in the great hurling homes of the club, the live streaming of the game meant that young and old Rockies fans could enjoy the triumph.

Healy, a lifelong Rockies man, told The Echo that he hoped the book would provide plenty of information and facts that would be there for generations to come, the year that the great Cork club came in from the cold to reclaim its place at the top table of Cork hurling.

“I was sitting at home a day or two after the final and I was reflecting on the game and one stat came into my mind immediately that was that there were five sets of brothers on the squad,” he said. “That got me thinking and I said wouldn’t it be great to get the year down in print.

“It was a year so different to others and a book like this would be a great souvenir.

“The club was hugely supportive of the idea and with the assistance of Roger (Ryan) and others we got it done.

“Club chair Ger Coughlan was very supportive as was the entire executive and for me personally, it was a labour of love.

“It’s nice to be able to put your finger on the match reports from each game on the championship journey and spread throughout the book are some lovely pictures of the final and the aftermath.”

Jim Healy. Picture: Kieran Boyde
Jim Healy. Picture: Kieran Boyde

Particular emphasis is given to the last two games of the championship, the semi-final against UCC and the final against the Glen.

“Roger has comprehensive reports from those games; the semi-final against UCC was probably one of the best games of the championship for quite some time.

It was a great championship for Blackrock to win and I believe the championship as a whole was very successful.

“The new format proved to be a great success and I suppose for ourselves in the club it was the culmination of a journey that had begun at U14 level all the way up the grades.

“You had one lad there, Robbie Cotter who was born in the year that we last won it in 2002 and you had sons of fathers who had been on winning teams in the past.

“I must mention George Hatchell too, he provided the pictures and I think overall the publication was well worth doing and it will serve as a nice reminder of a year that was very difficult for a lot of people."

Alongside the excellent booklet, the thriving southside club also produced a wonderful calendar which is a must for every Rockies supporter.

It’s a pictorial history of the season with all the pictures supplied by photographer George Hatchell who was present for all the games on the successful voyage.

There are some superb action shots from the various games and alongside them are a few of the celebratory pics taken at the conclusion of the county final.

The calendar is titled, ‘Rockies Road to Glory, 2020 visions by George Hatchell’ and the man with the camera certainly deserves immense credit too.

And the last word to Healy: “Look, it was a year like no other and I hope that when it’s recalled in the years to come, Rockies supporters everywhere will look back on it with great pride on the players and backroom team that made it possible.”

The Rockies will be defending their title later on in the year and the success of 2020 will surely act as a huge motivational tool.

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