Russell Rovers stormed to their first adult hurling county title, taking the Cork JAHC crown ahead of fellow East Cork side Carrig na bhFear at a rain-soaked Pairc Uí Rinn.
Rovers’ coach Noel Furlong was understandably delighted and heaped praise on people on and off the field for the way the club has risen to secure this major success.
“It is an unbelievable achievement for these lads. They were in the doldrums just a couple of years ago, there was talks that the club might close but there was a core group of people at the club that took it by the scruff of the neck, put serious procedures in place and you can see that from the young players we have today and the way they hurled.
“It is a credit to all of them and all the players, the way they came back after last year’s final loss. You look at the championship, this is their eighth game this year and last year was the same. It is the mark of a team that this is 14 out of 15 championship victories and they have to be commended for that.”
From the first whistle, the East Cork champions took this game by the scruff of the neck, racing into a 1-3 to 0-0 lead on 10 minutes as Carrig na bhFear racked up a series of what would ultimately prove energy sapping wides.
A brilliant individual goal from man of the match Brian Hartnett set the champions on their way, with points from himself and Josh Beausang heaping the pressure on an already struggling Carrig na bhFear rearguard.
Rovers kept adding to their tally and were well worth their 1-08 to 0-2 half time lead as Carrig na bhFear struggled to get anything like positive momentum.
Credit to Carrig na bhFear, they threw everything they had at the second half managing to outscore Rovers by five points to one between the 40thand 46th minutes but the damage was done in the first half and Rovers, full of confidence, eased to what was a fully-deserved and impressive championship success. Munster now awaits the boys in black and amber; however a small celebration may come first.
Scorers for Russell Rovers: B Hartnett 1-4; J Beausang 0-7 (two frees, one sixty five); L Duggan-Murray; D Moynihan, 0-2 each, J McGrath, K Walsh 0-1 each.
Carrig na bhFear: P Murphy 0-4 (all frees); T Geaney 0-2 (one free), J Forde 0-2 each; C Hayes 0-1
RUSSELL ROVERS: R Walsh; K O’Brien, P Lane, E O’Sullivan; JP Ivers, J Kennefick, C Ruddy; K Tattan, K Walsh; D Moynihan, L Duggan-Murray, J McGrath; B Hartnett, J Beausang, K Moynihan. Subs: E McGrath for J McGrath (58), D O’Brien for K Tattan (60), K Ivers for K O’Brien (61), C Quinlan for B Hartnett (62).
CARRIG NA BHFEAR: B Casey; T Sheehan, D O’Driscoll, G Geaney; J Forde, T Geaney P Geaney; J Forde, A Dorgan; M Hickey, P Sheehan, A Hegarty; P Murphy, B Murphy, D Sweeney.Subs: S Casey for G Geaney (inj)(4), C Hayes for A Hegarty (41), P O’Sullivan for D Sweeney (46), J Aherne for J Forde (52), J O’Sullivan for M Hickey (58).
Referee: M Maher (St Finbarrs)