Ilen Rovers needed to stop the slide and can now build for 2023

With the threat of successive relegations looming, Ilen dug out a win over Newmarket
Ilen Rovers needed to stop the slide and can now build for 2023

Newmarket's Darren O'Keeffe holds off Ilen Rovers' Shane Carey during the Bon Secours Cork SAFC at Cloughduv. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE scenes after Ilen Rovers’ crucial win over Newmarket in the Bon Secours Senior A Football championship spoke volumes about what football means to the players, management and supporters of this proud club.

Having suffered relegation from the top flight last season when defeated by Carrigaline coach Diarmuid Duggan knew another blow to the club would hamper their progress for the coming years.

“The word relief is a big word for us this evening as we have been on a bad run of games and we basically had to fight for our lives against a talented Newmarket side.”

For Duggan, the outcome of this game will hopefully bring an air of positivity back to his club.

“We needed to stop the slide but look without making excuses we have lost 10 or 11 players in the last two years and you could see what it has done to us but credit to this present group they showed the type of spirit associated with our club,” added Duggan.

In a game that was played in a good sporting fashion, he wasn’t happy until the sound of the final whistle.

“This game could have went either way as when there is so much on the line the pressure can get to players but all in all it was played in a good sporting manner. We were two behind at the break and we knew we needed to pick it up big time on the restart and I think our players responded to our halftime pep talk.

“Sean O’Donovan started but had been ill before the game and introducing Alan Holland proved fruitful as he played outstanding chipping in with four points.

“Alan has been a great servant to our club as has just returned from a two-year spell in Australia and we certainly needed him out there this evening.”

Getting prepared for games can be difficult for Ilen Rovers. Duggan explained: “We have half the squad based in Cork so we actually train in Ballineen on Wednesdays and that suits us great as it lessens the journey for all concerned.”

By virtue of this win, the season has now concluded for Ilen Rovers much to the relief of Duggan.

We are happy the season is finished as the lads can now take a rest as travelling down on the dark nights after work to west Cork can be a trek.

“To finish with a win is absolutely fantastic for the lads as they have had to endure so much pain over the last couple of years and believe me there has been some huge disappointments in that journey.

“We will now take a deep breath and plan for the next campaign and hopefully get some players back from injury.”

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