There was a possibility, transformed almost into an expectation in some quarters, that Blackrock and Glen Rovers would be propelled into a senior hurling relegation play-off.
But, at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday, both showed old money still has spending power.
The city pair ensured that East Cork duo Cloyne and Bride Rovers will now clash to see who drops down.
Typical of the Glen and the Rockies, however, while there was immediate relief upon securing senior status, now it’s all about looking ahead to the last 16 as they face Carrigtwohill and Sarsfields, respectively, in a double-header on Saturday.
“We’re not finished, not for one second,” Blackrock manager Ray Delaney said after defeating Bride Rovers. “A lot of people, both inside and outside the club, might have been thinking that we’d get over this and we’d be happy.
“That’s not what Blackrock is about, it’s about winning championship matches and we’ll definitely give it a go.”
Having seen Blackrock triumph in the first game, Glen manager Tony Wall was happy to draw inspiration from them as his side hammered Cloyne (3-18 to 1-8).
“I said it to the players coming off, if they had heard the joke about the two famous city teams that were going for relegation!” he laughed.
“We took a lot of inspiration from Blackrock, the hunger, the determination, the will to win, we mentioned it to our players how Blackrock fought to the bitter end.
“We never had any doubt whatever that we were going to play well today.”
Relegation was unthinkable, so Wall ensured that his side didn’t think about it, despite losses to St Finbarr’s and Bishopstown.
“No, we set our stall out from the moment we lost to Bishopstown, we knew we’d have another chance.
“We knew that if we beat Cloyne we’d be in the fourth round, where we would have been if we had beaten the Barr’s in the first round.
“That was our motivation, we never mentioned relegation, we never mentioned what was going to happen if we lost.
“This is a very good group of players, they were disappointed with how they did last year and so far this year.
“They wanted to get back in the hunt.”
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