At seven points down, we could have just easily given up but we didn’t. We stuck to our guns and we knew we’d come through
Ballincollig goalkeeper David Lordan was the lucky man entrusted with the honour of doing what nobody else from the village had ever done — accepting the Andy Scannell Cup.
The character of the team has been called into question more than once over the years, but this time there was a maturity and composure displayed to ensure victory was achieved.
“It was unbelievable standing up there and seeing everyone,” Lordan said.
“I’d say everybody from Ballincollig was down below on the field.
“It just shows the character, I said it last week, these guys never give up, they just keep going and there’s no stopping them.
“At seven points down, we could have just easily given up but we didn’t. We stuck to our guns and we knew we’d come through, thank God today was our day.”
To win just once, as the Saw Doctors sang, won’t be enough, however. A Munster championship awaits and Lordan wants a good showing in that before showing that this was no fluke.
“It’ll take a bit of time to sink in but we have to take it from here now,” he said, “there’s no point people lying on their laurels.
“We have to try and keep driving on, try and maybe go on in Munster. There’s no point coming out next year and losing in the first round, we have to keep building on everything that we’ve done.
“It’s a great club, great youth development and it’s important to stick to it.”
Six points down inside 11 minutes — albeit against a strong wind — there may have been fears that the big day had got to Ballincollig.
“It runs through your mind alright,” Lordan acknowledged, “but you just have to go back to the basics again, get the kickouts right and look after the goal. We came into the game again, it took us 15 or 20 minutes to realise we were in the county final.
“We let loose then, the young fellas got going again. Carbery started well and going into the second half they probably felt that they had the beating of us but we kept asking and kept plugging.”
Having drawn back to within a point by the break, Ballincollig were the bookies’ favouites going into the second half. There was a calm in the dressing room and Lordan believes manager Michael O’Brien’s temperament was a factor, as it has been all year.
“I don’t think that you can go in shouting and roaring, there’s no point screaming,” he said. “We knew ourselves that we hadn’t performed so you just take a break, there’s no point using up more energy.
“Michael’s brilliant. This fella, when I first started he was playing and he’s just Ballincollig through and through, the man bleeds green. He’s amazing and fair play to him.
“When nobody wanted this team, he took over and he’s after taking us to this.”
Even the concession of a goal to fall four points behind in the 32nd minute couldn’t shake them.
“I think that early in the game, at the start of the second half, you just have to cool the nerves again, get back down to reality a bit and play the game as you see it,” Lordan said.
“We caught the kickout straight after that and I think that that got us going again. It was unbelievable, the lads just kept fighting, kept fighting and kept going.”
So much so that they led by three points when Carbery Rangers had a late penalty shout. What was Lordan’s view?
“I think John O’Rourke caught the ball and took a shot but it hit one of our lads’ knees,” he said.
“They were claiming a footblock but I didn’t see any foot going in anyway!
“Carbery Rangers are a phenomenal team, they were just unlucky on the day. I think they just maybe ran out of gas a little bit towards the end. The last 10 minutes of games has always been our strong point and thankfully today it was the same.”
Going ahead, they will look to do the same in Munster. They may even do so in the red, white and black jerseys which have served them well in the quarter-final against Muskerry, the semi-final against Nemo Rangers and again yesterday.
“I think it was Michael,” Lordan said, “he was a bit afraid that their green and white might clash, and do you know what, I think he was dead right. We didn’t want to leave anything alive today.
“I think they’re the original Ballincollig colours, we might stick to them, who knows!”
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