MIDLETON manager Ger Fitzgerald praised the resilience of his side as they prevailed against Glen Rovers in yesterday’s Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The Magpies claimed an eighth county title with a 0-24 to 1-18 win in a game where they never trailed, though they did see a nine-point lead wiped out. Even then, the Glen might have snatched a draw at the death but a goal chance went wide and Midelton held out.
Fitzgerald, who adds a title as manager to the four as a player, felt that his side had honed their battling qualities en route to the final.
“I thought we seemed to be getting the breaks as they were coming at us, so I was confident enough,” he said.
“Obviously when that shot went wide, it could have gone anywhere and that's the nature of the beast but I suppose we missed a few chances which would have put us in a comfortable position, if we had got to four, we'd have probably shut it out.
“But, overall, we showed fierce fighting spirit, fierce drive, fierce determination and we held out coming down the straight which is a sign of our resilience. [It] wouldn't have been associated with us, maybe a game or two or three earlier in the championship but I think we showed tremendous resilience, not alone tonight but since the Sars match.
“Jennifer [Hayes, team psychologist] has done a lot of work with the lads in that, in terms of getting their mindsets right and resetting their thinking no matter what happens so that came to the fore today.”
Midleton’s captain Conor Lehane took the man of the match award after scoring 13 points and Fitzgerald felt that the qualities of the player – left off the Cork panel at the start of the year – were clear to see.
“To me, he's outstanding but he's always been outstanding for us,” he said.
“He's a huge captain, he's our leader. I've said that from the start of the year but to me, ye lads in the media have a responsibility to report what ye see. Ye report that, that fixes everything.”
For Glen manager Ian Lynam, there was disappointment as this followed final defeats in 2019 and 2020, but he accepted that Midleton deserved the win.
“Yeah, it’s a tough one take, losing three years in a row,” he said.
“We’ve no excuses, the better team won on the day. The first half was poor on our behalf, we were lucky to only be going in four points down at half-time.
“But we made a battle out of it, in fairness our fellas didn’t give up, they didn’t throw in the towel. Lesser teams might have given up before half-time but we kept plugging away and we got back level but let them get back into it again to go three up.
“We had a chance at the end to maybe snatch a draw but we have no complaints, the better team won on the day.”