SAHC: Courcey Rovers keep moving in the right direction

Last year's PIHC winners qualify for SAHC quarter-finals
SAHC: Courcey Rovers keep moving in the right direction

NEWS 27/8/2022 Pictured at Pairc Ui Rinn was Blarneys Mark O'Leary and Courcey Rovers Brendan Ryan. Picture Denis Boyle

Stepping up to a higher grade can be a difficult challenge but Courcey Rovers have taken things in their stride in the Co-op SuperStores Cork SAHC.

Victory over Blarney on a scoreline of 2-17 to 0-18 in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night gave the Ballinspittle/Ballinadee club second place in Group B behind Fr O’Neills, setting up a quarter-final meeting with Ballyhea.

Having won the Premier IHC last year and then reaching the Munster final, Courceys have built on that and manager Seán Guiheen feels there is a lot of credit due to the squad.

“That’s a huge compliment to the players,” he said.

“The one thing they do is give their max, they’re competitive and they don’t give us. They league has gone well for us, we’re into the final.

“For me as a coach, they’re great to work with, a revelation really. They’re hard-working and they’re honest. They’re genuine good guys and fair play to them.”

With both Courceys and Blarney having lost to Fr O’Neills and beaten Killeagh, Saturday’s clash was essentially a knockout tie, albeit with a slight advantage in Rovers’ favour in that a draw would have sent them through on scoring difference.

While Blarney began well, they had a first-half red card and goals before and after half-time by Courceys’ Seán Twomey turned the game in their favour.

“This was a real championship game,” Guiheen said, “it was knockout.

“To be in the last six is just great, especially considering the group we came out of. It was a fierce tough group, to be fair.

“It took a bit of time – when the man got sent off for Blarney, sometimes it happens – you have an extra man but, for some reason, you can’t make use of it. They came back after the first goal and got four points in a row.

“We spoke at half-time and I wasn’t happy with the contest: they outnumbered us on breaking ball and ruck ball. We had to address that and start being more competitive on the ball, and to be fair, they did.

“They came out with all guns blazing, kept at it and kept the scoreboard ticking over.”

Twomey is no stranger to important goals, having also netted for Cork U20s in the 2020 All-Ireland final win over Dublin in July of last year. Having such a threat in the ranks is a huge asset, Guiheen feels.

“To be fair, that’s what the guy can do,” he said.

“He can be quiet for 59 minutes and then, bang, bang, two goals.

“That’s why he’s a Cork senior hurler and on Saturday he came up trumps for us, he was superb.”

Now the attention turns to Ballyhea, in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday, September 10.

“It’s great, it’s exactly where we wanted to be,” Guiheen said.

“This is the time of year that you want to be hurling. We’ll get ready now for two weeks’ time – we’ve a lot to work on but it’s great to be in a quarter-final, it’s fantastic.”

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