MALLOW'S win over near-neighbours Ballyhea in the SAHC on Saturday evening couldn’t have come at a better time for a side that had lost their opener to Ballymartle six days earlier.
In less than ideal conditions for hurling both sides gave it their all in Buttevant with Mallow’s unwillingness to go down twice in a row a major factor according to their manager Ger Manley.
“It was a local derby and the conditions were desperate,” said Manley at the final whistle.
“They got a good start and that put is on the back foot but we seemed to get on top in the second quarter, we should have been more up really at the break but we had a few lads there that haven’t played in five or six weeks because of injuries and things like that.
"Hopefully this will bring them and the others on a bit now. Mallow have plenty of ability – it is just to get things right.”
Manley believes that heart and quality ultimately played a major role in Mallow’s win.
“You could see there at the end the Mallow lads showed great heart and in all fairness to Ballyhea they kept going till the end as well but I think we had the better quality hurlers and that told in the end.
“Having said all that the rain didn’t stop there till near the end so it was tough and Padge Buckley made a couple of brilliant saves, particularly off the penalty so even though we were in the driving seat it would have been interesting if that one had gone in.
“It was a super save, particularly from a player as good as Pa O’Callaghan who hit it brilliantly in the right place but thankfully for us Padge did the business."
Mallow may well have lost their opener by 5-16 to 1-17 but Manley is convinced that the scoreline in that game with Ballymartle misrepresented everything that his side is about.
“We lost the first game but anyone there could see we were well on top of Ballymartle at times. We made two or three mistakes and they punished us heavily for those.
"The SAHC is full of quality for the last few years O’Neills were the standard-bearers at this level and you can now see right across the competition that there is quality everywhere.
"Newcestown, Bandon, Cloyne are a senior team coming down. Ballymartle have been on the senior track as well. Kanturk, Blarney and Mallow. It is anybody’s championship really.”