Mallow manager Keith Moynihan impressed with how squad has matured

Second straight SAFC final for North Cork club despite losses from 2020 squad
Mallow manager Keith Moynihan impressed with how squad has matured

Mallow's Kieran O'Sullivan pressurises Conchúr Ó Loingsigh of Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh in Saturday night's Bons Secours Hospital Cork SAFC semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Larry Cummins

A second Bons Secours Hospital Cork SAFC final in the space of six months beckons for Mallow and manager Keith Moynihan is delighted with how the panel has matured to fill the void left by key departures.

Of the panel that reached the 2020 decider against Éire Óg – played in June of this year – Mallow have lost Cian O’Riordan, Andrew Cashman and Michael Quirke to retirement while James Loughrey transferred back to his home club of St Brigid’s in Mallow.

However, victory over Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh in Saturday night’s semi-final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh means Mallow are back in the final, with St Michael’s the opposition, and Moynihan feels that the players have really stepped up.

“It’s the circle of life, really,” he said.

“Somebody exits stage-left and somebody else gets the opportunity to step up as a leader and then somebody from the squad comes into the team and starts doing their job.

“That’s just the way it. We love Cian and James and Cashy and Mike Quirke and all these guys who have stepped away. It’s just a case of the younger lads getting their go and the experienced lads taking over those leadership roles.

“There’s a good squad there, they’re good lads and they work hard every night in training.

“All the younger lads, they’re the ones that drive the momentum. We just set out to get out of the group first and we were lucky enough to get a semi-final, so you knuckle down and get the heads right. The performance came today, so we’re delighted to be back in a final.

“The fact that we were there before, we know that we are only in a final, so we’ve another job to do now.”

Having fallen 1-2 to 0-1 behind early on, Mallow moved in front thanks to a Ryan Harkin penalty goal and when Stephen O’Callaghan netted in first-half injury time they went in leading by 2-6 to 1-4.

“It was a huge score,” Moynihan said.

“It had become tit-for-tat at that point, it had gone 1-3 each and 1-4 each but we had got a couple of points and then Stephen took the goal very well.

“It was huge, a very important score.”
Seán McDonnell and Seán Hayes raised green flags in the second half as they pulled clear. It means a repeat of the 2017 Premier IFC decider, which Mallow won, but Moynihan doesn’t feel it will have much relevance.

“Not at all,” he said.

“There’s a lot of water under the bridge since then and two very changed teams if you look back at them.

“That was a Rolls-Royce of a game of football where two teams just went at each other. We could have lost that so easily, it was a flip of a coin that day.

“I don’t think anybody will read anything into that.”

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