Hutch­ings: Fans drove Fer­moy on

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport -

REL­E­GA­TION games are strange af­fairs at the best of times, but a rel­e­ga­tion league is some­thing new in the PIFC as Béal Átha ’n Ghaorthaidh, Na Piar­saigh, and Castle­town­bere must play off af­ter not man­ag­ing to win a cham­pi­onship game be­tween them.

And to make mat­ters even more sur­real, none of the three teams can go down, as they all won a game in 2017.

Nonethe­less, for Béal Átha men­tor Damien Long, Satur­day’s vic­tory over Na Piar­saigh was just a mat­ter of get­ting the job done.

“Job done, that’s re­ally it! Two words! We don’t want to be in this po­si­tion but we’ve no­body to blame only our­selves to be in this po­si­tion.

“We were never in this po­si­tion be­fore and thank­fully that’s one down and one to go.

“But at the same time, we had to win to­day; we were com­ing down to win and un­for­tu­nately, in cham­pi­onship, we av­er­aged 1.5 times as many wides as we did scores in both cham­pi­onship games. Which is very, very waste­ful. We had an un­be­liev­able amount of wides in cham­pi­onship.

“We scored 2-17 to­day, the wrong time of the year to be do­ing it, but at least we’re back scor­ing.”

The lot of the club player con­tin­ues to be a bar­ren one in terms of reg­u­lar matches, and keep­ing play­ers in­ter­ested and mo­ti­vated is a mas­sive prob­lem, with the large gaps be­tween games. But the un­cer­tainty in re­la­tion to games was even more ap­par­ent for Satur­day’s en­counter.

“We haven’t re­ally got to­gether since [los­ing to Mac­room in June]. We played the rest of our league matches, and then we took a break and we went back train­ing last Thurs­day night for the first time in two months.

“The in­ten­sity in train­ing last Thurs­day night was much higher than that [game to­day]. We had pre­sumed it wasn’t go­ing to go ahead. Be­cause we’ve been ask­ing the ques­tion for the last six to eight weeks and get­ting no an­swer from the county board to say what was hap­pen­ing, what for­mat it was tak­ing.

“They said they had their mind made up four weeks ago, but they’ve told no­body and then last week we were told we had to play to­day.”

It must be in­cred­i­bly frus­trat­ing for all in­volved.

“Enor­mously frus­trat­ing. We wanted to play this, there was no rea­son this couldn’t have been played weeks ago, when the weather was a lit­tle bit bet­ter at least. We’re down to play next week­end but it’s go­ing to go back I think. We’ve a lot of teach­ers, that week is mid-term and they all have plans made and you can’t blame play­ers for mak­ing plans at this time of the year.” SUN­DAY saw Fer­moy re­turn to the se­nior ranks for the first time since 1964, for too long for a club of their stature.

Hav­ing lost the fi­nal two years ago, they had a bit of a slump last year but re­grouped and went again this year.

They were the bet­ter side over the hour and led from start to fin­ish and were de­serv­ing win­ners.

Key to that was the mid­field bat­tle where To­mas Clancy and Jack Hutch­ings got the bet­ter of Eoin Hickey and Niall Cashman.

Af­ter­wards, Hutch­ings was de­lighted with the win and summed up what it meant for the town.

“It’s un­real to fi­nally win it, it has been a long sea­son since we started train­ing and then started out in the cham­pi­onship.

“We had our first game in April and then we had a bit of a wait as the in­ter­county scene takes over for a lot of the sum­mer months.

“But it was a fan­tas­tic per­for­mance side, the club and the by ev­ery man on the pitch, ev­ery man that come on, ev­ery man on the side­lines, and ev­ery fan that was there. It’s amaz­ing to have sup­port like that and it re­ally helps to drive you on, espe­cially in a venue like this.

“From the very start of this cam­paign our man­ager, Mick Hen­nessy, knew we had to be strong de­fen­sively and we have worked hard on this and from there we have a launch pad for go­ing for­ward,

“So ev­ery time we got pos­ses­sion we moved for­ward at pace and filed back when we had to and com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key to this and it was sec­ond-to-none the pitch to­day.

“When you have a run­ner like To­mas be­side you in mid­field, it is very easy to just jump on his tail and when he takes off with the ball, he is vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to stop.

“It’s amaz­ing to see the young lads as they come around and copy what he is do­ing and they are learn­ing a lot from him.

“This win makes up for our loss two years ago and it’s fi­nally great to be able to say we are up in the se­nior ranks again.

“That has a spe­cial ring to it,” con­cluded Jack.

Fer­moy mid­fielder Tomás Clancy on the charge at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in their Cork PIFC fi­nal against St Michael’s.

The vic­to­ri­ous Fer­moy team cel­e­brate with the cup.

Fer­moy cap­tain Darragh O’Car­roll is all smiles af­ter their his­toric win.

Fer­moy’s Kieran Mor­ris­son hunt­ing a score.

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