MALLOW are back in business in the SAHC after seeing off Cloyne in Fermoy.
On a near-perfect night for summer hurling, the boys from the Blackwater Valley had to dig deep against a Cloyne side that threw everything they had into the clash — and the Imokilly side now need to win their final game to avoid the possibility of a relegation play-off.
Mallow, like Cloyne, came into the game with their season on the line after losing their opening tie, but after taking the spoils at the expense of the east Cork side, the Avondhu outfit have a chance to stay in the competition with the weight of relegation lifted from their shoulders.
Mallow manager Joe Buckley was delighted and relieved at the final whistle and he paid tribute to his charges for their performance.
“I am just drained. It was a great game between two sides that came to play hurling. Cloyne put it up to us from the start and we had to really dig deep all over the pitch to get the win,” Buckley said.
"Cloyne are a great side with some quality players; their free taker, Brian O’Shea, was sensational. He hit everything over the bar.
For us, the goal this year is to stay senior. We have a very young side, but they stood up today and that will bring them on.”
While Buckley was happy with the positives, he also recognised that all wasn’t right in his side, with plenty to do if they are to improve.
“We hit far too many wides (13). We just didn’t take some of our chances, but this is such a young team that they will learn. We also gave away far too many frees. We were under pressure at the back for long periods; we need to work on that, but the win was always the most important thing tonight and we can now go and work on this for the next game.”
That next game is against a Fermoy side that also look to be in good shape this season.
“We didn’t dare look at the final game until this one was done. Now we can look to Fermoy and see what they will bring.
“Fermoy are also going to be a serious challenge and they have the ability to make life hard for us.
“We can look ahead to that final game in the group, which will be in three weeks, but I will say it again, the win today was everything.
“Up to this point, we had only won one game. This is our second win since coming together. We had five players missing today for various reasons. Hopefully, we will have more available the next day.”