BANTRY Blues captain Ruairí Deane admitted it felt ‘surreal’ to help his side reach the PIFC county final after the Blues defeated Iveleary on a full-time score of 3-13 to 1-16 in last Saturday’s semi-final tie played in Dunmanway.
Two goals midway through the second half from Dara McCarthy and Arthur Coakley proved crucial in helping Bantry Blues secure their county final berth.
“It was a good win. It feels a bit surreal. We had to work hard. They are a good team. Both teams like to play football and thankfully we were on the right side. We were glad to get a high-quality game. It is good for Cork football and for the club scene,” he said.
The Blues were trailing by one point before two successive goals in 60 seconds moved them five points clear after 42 minutes. Ruairi acknowledged the importance of the two goals.
“We drove on and thankfully we got a couple of goals which were vital. We took our changes on the day. They made a big difference in the end.”
Bantry contains a nice mixture of youth and experience in their team, which pleases the influential forward.
“We have some savage young lads coming through along with the more experienced players which gives us a good balance.”
They now advance to play Kanturk in the county final, which represents their first adult county final since 1998.
Deane is looking forward to it.
"I haven’t played in an adult county final with my club. That is what it is all about,” he said.
Bantry Blues team manager David O’Donovan was full of praise for his players who overcame the challenge of a very strong Iveleary side.
“They are fantastic to work with. Bantry is a strong traditional football club. When I was growing up, they were one of the elite teams in the county.”
Deane played a huge role in helping his side defeat Iveleary. He struck five points from play in the first half and set up Arthur Coakley’s second goal following a strong run.
“The first time I met him last December he told me he wasn’t enjoying his football the last couple of years whether he was in a red or blue jersey. He wanted me to help bring some enjoyment back to football in Bantry.
"We are enjoying the year so far. His performance against Iveleary was brilliant. He is a great player and leader.”