Calling out a handful of the older guard, he repeated his message again and again and again.
The scoreline at Skibbereen read 2-7 to 1-4 in Carbery Rangers’ favour. Ilen Rovers, now playing into the teeth of a strong wind, had managed but one point in the first 15- minutes of the second-half. Their frustration, both on the sideline and inside the whitewash, rose with every misplaced pass, every miscued kick and every Carbery Rangers turnover.
What this selector wanted, demanded, was for Ilen Rovers to match the intensity of their West Cork rivals, to turn the tables on their opponents.
This is a young Ilen Rovers team which Johnny Holland is moulding and they struggled to adapt to the testing underfoot conditions of Saturday night and the physical, in-your-face approach of Carbery Rangers.
Take John Hayes’ goal at the end of the first quarter.
Emerging from defence with possession, a swarm of Carbery Rangers players closed in on the isolated white shirt and midfielder James Fitzpatrick forced the turnover. The ball was worked inside to Hayes who raised their second green flag of the evening.
Of their first-half 2-7, 1-3 was a direct product of turning over an Ilen Rovers player in possession.
“I thought we were physically stronger,” said winning manager Michael O’Sullivan. “They had a lot of young lads playing in their back line. Conditions were tough so a bit of strength from our forwards told.
“I thought our workrate in our forward line was excellent. We got 1-3 in the first-half from turnovers. That made a huge difference. When your forwards start working that hard it takes the pressure off your defence. It is something we will hopefully keep going.” Although the excellent Seamus Hayes had the 2014 county finalists off the mark within 20 seconds, they were put onto the backfoot in the ensuing three minutes as first Kevin O’Sullivan pounced for the opening goal of the contest before fisting over in the subsequent action. As Michael O’Sullivan reflected afterwards, it was now “game on” and Carbery Rangers were not to be found wanting.
They kicked 2-4 without reply to kill off whatever momentum Ilen Rovers had drawn from their positive opening and would limit their opponents to just three-points in the remaining 57-minutes of action, rendering them scoreless for the final 26- minutes.
John Hayes supplied the delivery for the first of their four goals on eight minutes, his brother Seamus fielding the ball on the 20-metre line and while his attempt for a white flag lacked the necessary legs, Alan Jennings ghosted through to punch to the net. John Hayes tallied their second and points from Jennings and Hayes himself, two apiece, moved them 2-7 to 1-3 clear by the break.
“It was like the first round of the championship all over again in that you don’t know what to expect coming,” continued O’Sullivan.
“Our lads really knuckled down after that jittery opening and it was pretty much over at half-time considering we had played against the elements and were seven up. We expected a big challenge from Ilen Rovers in the first 10-minutes of the second-half. If they had managed to get a goal it could have been game on again. Our lads are experienced and finished out the game nicely.”
Although failing to add to their tally for the opening 18-minutes of the second-half, the winners conceded but one point during this period – Kevin O’Sullivan on target for the losers, moving out of sight with points on the bounce from John Hayes, John O’Rourke and Seamus Hayes.
The Rosscarbery outfit rounded off proceedings with goals from sub Kevin Fitzpatrick and John O’Rourke, complementing the hard work further back of Declan Hayes, James Fitzpatrick, Brian Shanahan and Thomas O’Rourke.
J Hayes (1-5, 0-2 frees); A Jennings (1-2); J O’Rourke (1-1); K Fitzpatrick (1-0); S Hayes (0-2).
K O’Sullivan (1-2, 0-1 free); D MacEoin (0-2, 0-1free).
P Shanahan; G O’Brien, T O’Rourke, P Hodnett; S Murray, B Shanahan, J O’Riordan; M Mennis, J Fitzpatrick; K McMahon, J Hayes, A Jennings; D Hayes, S Hayes, J O’Rourke.
A Roche for O’Riordan (42 mins), K Fitzpatrick for Mennis (48, bc), S O’Neill for S Hayes (58), C O’Rourke for J Fitzpatrick (58).
S Minihane; D O’Donovan, M Hellen, P Minihane; J Pickett, A Hassett, T O’Regan; Cian O’Driscoll, P O’Driscoll; S O’Donovan, C O’Driscoll, A Holland; S Leonard, D MacEoin, K O’Sullivan.
J Bushe for Pickett (HT), A Coughlan for Hellen (34 mins), C Harrington for Holland (48), C Cotter for Coughlan (54, bc), E O’Donoghue for MacEoin (58).
K Murphy (Nemo Rangers)