Hutchings: Fans drove Fermoy on
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.