FOR Dungourney, Sunday’s Co-op SuperStores Cork IAHC final with Cloughduv in Páirc Uí Chaoimh (2pm) is a chance to renew acquaintances.
Back in 2015, the clubs met in the county JAHC final, with Dungourney winning after a replay, while the East Cork side fell to their Muskerry rivals in this year’s group stages.
Drawn with Cloughduv, Douglas and Aghabullogue, Dungourney were impressive winners against the city side’s second team in their first outing but then fell to a 2-18 to 1-19 defeat to Cloughduv in Grenagh. While it was a disappointment, Dylan Healy says that it was a case of dusting themselves down and facing forward.
“We knew that Cloughduv were going to be the best team in the group and that it would be a tough game,” he says.
“When we lost, we said that we were still in it and that if we beat Aghabullogue we’d be through. We just kept the heads after that.”
It meant a winner-take-all final game with Aghabullogue in Páirc Uí Rinn, with a 1-19 to 1-16 win sending Dungourney through to the quarter-finals.
“It was actually similar to last year,” says Healy, a PE and history student at UCC.
“We started well, I think we led for the whole game, and we ended up winning by three in the end. Getting out of the group was big for us this year because in the previous two years we’d failed to get out.
“To do that was massive and we felt that, if we did get out of the group, we could go far and we’re here now!
“We’ve a small panel, only 24 players and there’s a good togetherness there, a good bond.
“We’ve some good young lads there, the likes of Jack Leahy, John Aherne, Paul Flynn – the three of them are only 18 but they’ve come into the team this year and had a massive impact.
“They’ve made a big difference and the older fellas have a bit more experience.”
James Ahern’s late goal was key as Dungourney got past Midleton in the quarter-finals.
“It was a typical East Cork derby,” Healy says, “a bit of a dogfight, and we were lucky to get out of it, really.
“When you get through a tight game like that, it brings you on a bit and gives you a boost.
“We played Sarsfields in the semi-final and we went 0-10 to 0-0 up in the first half and we were going well. Sars came back at us but we kept the heads.
“We knew that they were going to be a very good side so it was a case of giving it a rattle, giving it everything, and luckily we came out on the right side.”
And that brings them to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, an opportunity Healy and the team are looking to embrace.
“A few of the lads would have played here with Imokilly, but a lot more of us wouldn’t,” he says.
“It’ll be a new experience but we’re looking forward to it. Realistically, it’s just another game.
“We’re delighted the game is on here and we’re all looking forward to it but we’re thinking of it as just another game, another step along the way.”