BATTLING against the incessant Public Address announcements that threatened to deafen anyone unfortunate enough to be around the dressing room area in O’Moore Park in the wake of Saturday’s Senior Hurling Final, Clough Ballacolla manager John McEvoy was full of praise for his players who had just suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Rathdowney-Errill.
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Seven points ahead at the break, Clough Ballacolla managed just one point in the second-half as their neighbours claimed victory with three points to spare.
Speaking after the game John McEvoy said that disappointment did not do justice to the emotion felt by the team.
“To say we’re disappointed is an understatement. Hurling is a game that can change in the space of a few minutes. They got a couple of scores after half-time and they got a bit of momentum. They had the wind as well. If we got one score at certain stages it might have made a difference. We just found it difficult to get it. You need that little bit of a break in the County Final and we just didn’t get it.”
Clough Ballacolla had started slowly in the drawn game but they shot out of the blocks in last Saturday’s replay scoring six points inside the first ten minutes. John McEvoy said the plan was to make a better start.
“One of the things we asked them to do was to go out and express themselves. We went out that little bit inhinited in the first game and I thought today when we went out we had a clear game plan when we went out onto the field. I suppose we knew at half-time there was always going to be a response and you can plan and legislate for it but some things you just can’t see happening.”
A key moment in the game was the sending off of Clough Ballacolla’s Tom Delaney midway through the second-half. While John McEvoy said he did not see the incident, he did speak to the character of the player and his importance in the game.
“I didn’t see the incident so I find it difficult to comment. All I can say is the player who was sent off, I’ve never seen him involved in a dirty incident before. He really is a very, very good player. A player that gives his heart and soul. These things happen in matches. We had a plan even when he went off. We dropped a man deeper. Willie Hyland came out and we started to knuckle our way back into the game. We could have gotten a goal at the end. I think we hit the post. We did everything we could.”
As the deafening Public Address asked the Rathdowney Errill supporters to clear the field for the umpteenth time, John McEvoy concluded by paying tribute to all involved in the Clough Ballacolla set up.
“The lads have been massive all year. Not just the seven or eight weeks but under the previous manager as well. They have been for the last three or four years. I’m immensely proud of them. I’m immensely proud to be associated with Tom Broderick the physical trainer who worked with me in Dublin as well. We were privilleged to be involved with the group. Our three selectors as well gave fantastic service and support over the last while as well.”