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Crusheen selector Gearóid O’Donnell.Photograph by Natasha Barton

‘It’s a moment I’ll never forget’

Another hero from 2010, Gearóid O’Donnell, feels that maiden title was a moment that will stay with him forever.
“It’s truly a moment I’ll never forget, walking under the bridge with the Canon Hamilton for the first time in the history of the club. We had lost a final in 2007, a semi-final replay in 2008. 2009 was all about soul searching. It was a hurtful campaign after not getting out of the group. Like this current group we used that hurt and 2010 was our deliverance day. We had been coming but to finally get over the line was an unreal feeling, one I’ve told the young lads about, one that will live forever.”
His successful side were on a path to the title for a couple of campaigns but this current crop have been transformed in literally a matter of weeks. It really has been Roy of the Rovers stuff.
“Let’s be honest this was definitely out of the blue. In January when we met the objective was to try get out of the group and get to the knockout stages. We hadn’t done that in a few years and that honestly was our sole focus. We were unlucky to lose against the Bridge but came away from that encounter happy with the performance. In the next round we were very good against a top Mills team. We felt really good heading into our last game but we delivered a zero performance against Clonlara. We just didn’t show up. It was extremely disappointing. It was actually embarrassing. Then we had the uncertainty afterwards. It was very strange when we came off the field. Nobody knew what was happening really. Were we in Senior B, was scoring difference sending us into the relegation. It was surreal to be honest. We left the park unsure but social media began to kick in and all of a sudden we were preparing for a quarter-final. It was incredible, one minute you’re contemplating a potential relegation decider, then it might be a crack at Senior B to all of a sudden it was like we were risen from the dead. Pure fairytale Roy of the Rovers stuff.”
How did they turn it around in such a short space of time?
“We were hurt, all of us, players and management. We all had changes to make. We took it as a free shot. We just said we’d give it everything for a month and see where we’re at. We were to never perform like we did against Clonlara ever again and if we were good enough we were good enough and if we weren’t then so be it but we’d have given it our all. We had to restore pride and I think we’ve done that. It was all about character against Newmarket. We had to get a performance, restore pride in the jersey and conditions were horrific so it was always going to be a battle. Thankfully we delivered on all fronts and most importantly we felt we had restored pride. Against Scariff the pitch was in perfect shape. It was a fine day and we played some really good hurling. We got some terrific scores, they missed a few and we find ourselves in the County Final. It’s been some journey.”
Facing Clonlara for a second time O’Donnell believes they will have to work harder than they’ve done all year.
“We have momentum and that’s a powerful thing. As you’re winning confidence builds and with that comes belief. We have to believe that if we perform we will be there at the business end. They’re a top side. To be honest It’s up another notch in terms of quality from the last two rounds. They have a wealth of talent but for us it’s very satisfying to be here. Honest work got us here. All of us driving together with an honesty of effort. There’s nothing magical about it, no secret formula, it’s just playing for the jersey, playing for the community, playing for each other. We just have to bring the performance, if it’s good enough it’s good enough, if not then so be it. As long as we’ve worked hard, played for each other and given it our all for the Crusheen people- What more can one ask for?

About Derek Dormer

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