“There’ll be a fantastic Christmas in Cloughduv if anybody wants join us”
IT is only the matter of a few short weeks ago that Tim Barry-Murphy guided his side to the heights of Cork Intermediate hurling for next year, but those that thought county supremacy was the full extent of the coach’s ambitions were proved wrong last Sunday as Cloughduv added provincial supremacy to the earlier success.
Barry-Murphy, as one would expect, was on cloud nine after his charges claimed the Munster title. “It is fantastic, it is completely new for the club and all the lads. We knew very little about them except the fact that they were a terrific hurling team and they showed it there today. They never gave up and pushed us all the way.
“Conditions were difficult. There was a strong wind blowing down the field. It was a cross wind, and that can be hard. Normally we like to play with it starting off but we lost the toss. At half-time we were in a good position, but I said to the lads there is never a match won at half-time. We have been finishing the first half of matches strong. And again today, we got two or three points without reply before the break.”
Barry-Murphy was well aware that the same style of play against the wind was unlikely to pay off with it so tactics had to be altered throughout the fixture.
“Against the wind, we played an extra defender. We dropped our wing-back back and brought Brian (Verling) out around the middle of the field. Brian picked up a lot of ball. He has been fantastic all year, from frees and from play.”
The coach didn’t spare all his compliments for the back six and had plenty of praise for the work ethic all over the pitch, particularly for those up front who needed to defend like all the others.
“Our defence did very well all game - but our forwards have to defend as well when the opposition have the ball. They all worked their socks off, especially with five forwards against six backs. They had to dig in. They all played for the full 60 minutes.”
While the game was played at a neutral Mallow familiarity with the venue and the pitch was a factor that Barry-Murphy couldn’t help but feel was a factor on the day.
“Having played here (in Mallow) previously against Shanballymore, we knew the pitch and the surface is great. We were delighted it was coming here to Mallow.”
The win had barely any chance of sinking in as his charges posed for their obligatory team photos but Barry-Murphy felt that there was one period of the game that was crucial to the win – a period of time that showed just what his side were willing to do to win. “To win a Munster championship with your own club is fantastic but it was really hard work.
“Playing into that strong wind we blocked, we hooked and we never gave them a chance. There was one stage there where that went on for a few minutes but eventually we came out with the ball and got a fantastic score out of it.”
All Ireland competition will need to take a back seat for now as well-deserved celebrations kick off in Cloughduv – and it appears we are all invited.
“There will be a fantastic Christmas in Cloughduv if anybody wants to come and join us”.
Cloughduv will head back into action in the new year when the challenge will be fiercer than anything the club have faced before when they square up to Kilkenny and Leinster champions Dunnamaggain in the All-Ireland semi-final, but for now the boys in green will just have to settle for being called Munster Champions – a title they will never get tired of hearing.