With the game tied in injury-time, a lot of teams might have taken the replay if it was offered but Mallow captain, Eoin Stanton, always had belief that his side could still dig out the win.
“We were four or five points ahead with 10 minutes to go but Michael's came at us really strongly in the last quarter. I don’t know would we have taken it because we have a great belief in ourselves, there was only a kick of a ball in it in the end and thankfully it fell to the right man in the right place with Sean Hayes and the goal.
“He came on the semi-final and got 1-2, came on today and got 1-1. He’s a great target man inside there and he planted it, it was a real sucker punch.
“It’s a brilliant feeling. We’d a very short turnaround, I think we were back training within ten days of losing to Éire Óg. Some of the younger lads were back earlier than me but it’s been a massive week for me personally and my wife and my daughter are at home watching, so I’d like to give a big shout out to them."
Stanton had nothing but praise for Mallow’s talisman and man-of-the-match, Matty Taylor.
“Matty was outstanding and that’s what you expect from him, he’s inter-county standard and he brings so much to training. With the new format we’ve had him for four or five months and he’s really upped the level of the group as a whole. Long may the format continue!”
As for Taylor himself, he was modesty personified and deflected the praise when questioned about his match-winning pass that set up Seán Hayes for the goal.
“Ah no, it was the right man in the right place with Sean Hayes, he always has that in his locker. I think the first goal brought a bit of momentum into the game. We reacted well to it and goals win games. Huge credit must go to Keith and his management team. They got young players involved, got a gameplan together as well."
Mallow manager, Keith Moynihan, was delighted with his side’s courage after St Michael’s battled back to level the game.
“We were trying to encourage our lads to be brave on the ball, to get on it and not to shrink away. They did that and then came the goal at the end. That’s what training for every club has become, practising for these situations. What happens if they come back and come level, do you have the character? Our lads did and big players rise to big occasions and Matty did it today and I’m so delighted for him.”
Mallow lost last year’s decider to Éire Óg but Moynihan pointed out the other teams in Cork and Kerry who made it back to finals only weeks after losing big games. He thinks the new system in Cork aided his and other good sides.
“It’s a testament to the group stage in Cork because generally consistent teams that are playing good football are rising to the top and that’s why today’s final was so close.”