SAFC:O'Donovan Rossa keen to build on semi-final appearance

Skibbereen side lost out to St Michael's but look ahead with optimism
SAFC:O'Donovan Rossa keen to build on semi-final appearance

Three-year-old Charlie Crowley consoles hs dad Paudie Crowley after O'Donovan Rossa's defeat to St Michael's in the Bons Secours Hospital Cork SAFC semi-final to St Michael's on Saturday. Picture: Jim Coughlan

While O’Donovan Rossa’s Bons Secours Hospital Cork SAFC campaign came to an end with Saturday’s semi-final defeat to St Michael’s at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, manager Gene O’Donovan is keen to build on what has been an encouraging campaign.

A final scoreline of 2-21 to 2-11 was perhaps harsh on the Skibbereen side, though O’Donovan had no complaints about last year’s beaten finalists Michael’s deserving their passage to another decider.

Skibb had come back to within a point in the second half, having trailed by six in the first period, but goals in quick succession from Robbie Cotter and Eoin O’Donovan served to put Michael’s into an impregnable position

“They’re a good side but they’re not that much over us,” Gene O’Donovan said.

“The goals were a killer but you must remember, Michael’s have been here before.

“I’m a huge believer in – and I said it to the boys on Saturday – that luck comes from hard work and Michael’s worked hard to get where they are. I wouldn’t begrudge them for a second.

“Our fitness wouldn’t be anywhere near what theirs is, to be quite honest. We’ve fellas that died out there for the shirt but Michael’s know how to play the Páirc.

“Themselves and ourselves are probably two of the higher-scoring teams in the championship – 2-11 we scored and that’ll win a lot of championship games.

“That’s the trend we’ve been going for most of the year – more scorers, more scores. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen on Saturday, the luck wasn’t with us but I applaud Michael’s.

“They were talking about their strength and conditioning prior to the game and it showed there on Saturday.

“It’s probably one of the hardest championships to actually win.”

While Michael’s move on to a final meeting with Knocknagree, Skibb are left to reflect on a year that had more positives than negatives. The group stage brought wins over neighbours Ilen Rovers and Newmarket as well as a defeat to fellow beaten semi-finalists Clyda Rovers before a quarter-final victory over another West Cork side, Dohenys.

O’Donovan feels that there is something positive there to work with and he wants to keep the group together and come back in 2023 ready to improve on this year’s showing.

“We’ll sit down and review it,” he said.

“I’ve a great team around me – not just the players but a good management team and a good backroom team.

“My first priority will be to try to meet with them over the next couple of weeks and make sure I can secure them – that’s if I keep the job, but I think the chairman is after assuring me of that already!

“Then we can look at what we have with the players and go from there. We lost a good few players this year – one of two of them would have come off the bench there on Saturday and made a difference.

“It’s a learning process. This is my first year involved in senior management, Daniel Cronin the Cork minor coach there with me – it’s an experience for us all, we’re all learning together.”

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