BY NOEL HORGAN
COURCEY Rovers manager Diarmuid Corcoran believes his side will be firmly cast in the role of the underdog when they square up to Charleville in the PIHC decider on Sunday and he says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Accepting that Courceys have been the surprise-packets in the competition this year, Corcoran pointed out they hadn’t managed to go two championship games unbeaten since they were crowned premier intermediate kingpins in 2011.
‘We were up senior for a few years, but the pattern continued after we were demoted in 2014,’ he said.
‘Our main aim at the start of this campaign was to string a couple of good results together. We said we’d take every game as it comes, go as far as we can, but we have been involved in two replays now, we have gone five games without defeat, and we feel that nothing is beyond us at this stage.’
Reflecting on the victory over Valleys, Corcoran suggested that nothing went right for what is basically a new-look and inexperienced Courceys side in the first half.
‘We went in at half-time four points behind, and the lads were very quiet in the dressing room,’ he said.
‘They knew they hadn’t done themselves justice, but, in fairness, we couldn’t have asked for more from them in the second half.
‘Their work-rate and attitude was simply superb, everybody, including the three subs we brought in, put a shoulder to the wheel, and it was very much a magnificent team effort.
‘Having said that, I thought our defence really scaled the heights in the second half, but that didn’t surprise me in the slightest, because the lads at the back, along with goalkeeper Stephen Nyhan, have been excellent all year.
‘We’re just delighted to get to a county final, but we realise it’s going to be a whole new ball game against Charleville, who have been fancied to go all the way from very early on in the season. ‘They won the lower intermediate grade emphatically three years ago, and with Ben O’Connor in charge of them, they are on the crest of a wave at the moment.
‘Still, going in as odds-on favourites means they will be under considerable pressure to deliver the goods, which suits us down to the ground, and we have to be fully confident in our ability to bring them down.
‘We’d have no business turning up for the game otherwise.’
In any case, the underdog tag isn’t a new experience for the Ballinspittle/Ballinadee side.
‘We didn’t fear Castlelyons in the quarter-final, we didn’t fear Valleys tonight, and we won’t be intimidated by the task ahead against Charleville, because anything can happen in a county final,’ Corcoran said.
‘It’s an occasion that normally takes on a life of its own, and I can assure you our lads, having worked so hard to get there, are going to relish it below in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.’