THE Gaelic Grounds certainly wasn’t the place for the faint-hearted last Saturday, with Courcey Rovers needing extra-time to see off Mungret St Paul’s in the AIB Munster IHC semi-final.
Manager Seán Guiheen summed it up: “It’s not good for the heart I can tell you that much!”
Courceys were unlucky to concede a harsh free with the last play of normal time, but they regrouped well in the additional 20 minutes.
“We led from start to finish and we were six up at one stage in the second half and we got complacent. I just thought we stepped off them, the work-rate dropped in the middle third.
“The ball was coming out too easily and they got a run on us. But they didn’t lead for the entire game and it was disappointing not to win it over 60 minutes.
Even having conceded the late score to take it to extra-time he said the management was still upbeat at that stage.
“We are still here and we’re still in the fight and we haven’t lost the game. We have gone down to the wire in a lot of games all year and we have always, thankfully, come out on the right side and that’s down to honesty and belief in the group.
“We firmly believed that despite losing the lead that once the composure came back and we pushed on them and forced them into mistakes and take our chances, then we weren’t going to lose.”
In the first half of extra-time it was still tight, but in the second half, Courceys took over and went four points clear, though a late goal trimmed the gap to the minimum in the closing stages.
The bench played its part, something Guiheen said was vital, including the likes of John McCarthy getting two vital points in injury-time.
“To be fair we have very good subs to come on and we trust them and back them to produce the goods for us. So they all brought something to the table when they came on.
“That’s why we [management] felt confident when it went to extra-time that we had the players to win it.”
Looking forward to the final he said: “It’s great to be looking forward to a Munster final on January 8/9, it’s just unbelievable really.
“They can have a few days off now, but we will knuckle down again on Wednesday or Thursday.
“But it’s fantastic for the club and the players for the effort they have put in all season. They are a smashing bunch to be fair.”