Clonakilty selector Eoin Ryan hailed his players’ refusal to give in as the West Cork club reached the semi-finals of the top-tier football championship for the first time since 2010.
With 14 minutes of normal time remaining in Sunday’s Bons Secours Hospital Cork Premier SFC quarter-final, Clon trailed Duhallow by 1-9 to 0-6 but they reeled off seven unanswered points to emerge victorious, Seán White getting the later winner.
While Ryan admitted that he was concerned as they struggled to stay with the north-western division, he never felt that the game was gone.
“I didn’t think we were beaten,” he said, “but I thought we were in trouble.
“You’re never beaten until the whistle is gone and that’s what we’re trying to drill into the lads. You just keep going, keep doing your job and, in fairness, they put in a brilliant last 15 minutes.
“It’s a big step forward for us to get to a semi-final, obviously, not having been there since 2010.
“We’re delighted with the win, we’ll go back and look at everything and sort ourselves out for the next day.”
Having played against the wind at half-time, Clon trailed by 1-5 to 0-4.
“We were happy enough at half-time,” Ryan said.
“We had a lot of the play in the first half, it was tough going up against the wind but we were still happy enough, we were well in the game.
“At the start of the second half, we created a few chances but didn’t take them. Any time they went up the field, they seemed to score, so we weren’t happy at that stage, but we kept at it and we got there.”
Having won the 2009 title, Clonakilty made it back to the last four the following year, losing to Nemo Rangers, but since then they have struggled to make an impact in the latter stages of the championship. To that end, Ryan felt the win was very important for a relatively young team.
“Oh sure, it’s brilliant,” he said.
“Every game you win makes you stronger. We came from a good bit back, which was fantastic, and that will stand to them going forward.
“We kind of panicked a bit at the start of the second half but we didn’t at the end of the second half, which was huge.
“Once we set to our task, we were good in the last quarter. We did kind of panic a bit, we were trying to create goal chances when there was no need at the start of the second half.”
Douglas – who claimed the one automatic semi-final spot after having the best group-stage record, are next up for Clon. Ryan knows that the city side will be favourites but he’s not overly worried by that.
“We’ll be underdogs anyway!,” he laughed.
“We don’t mind that. We were underdogs for the last three games and again against Duhallow, we’re used to that, that won’t bother us!”