Hard work was the key for Murphy

Paul McIntyre spoke with Rossa manager Colly Murphy after their win over Cushendall

After coming so close to claiming the scalps of favourites St Johns and Dunloy in the group stages, O’Donovan Rossa got the big win their play and endeavour deserved last Saturday at Hightown when the put a much more fancied Cushendall to the sword in a display of guts and determination. The Ruairí Ógs were aiming to go one better than last year when they lost to Dunloy in they final and reach an eighth final in as many years, but they came unstuck against a well drilled Rossa side that had other ideas.

Stephen Beatty’s two goals at the start of the second half swung the game for Colly Murphy’s outfit but they had so much more to do as Cushendall threw everything they had at them. As early as the first minute Chris McGuiness threw himself in the way of Aidan McNaughton’s goal bound shot and the tone was set for the rest of the day.

A well organised Rossa rear-guard suffocated the ‘Dalls’ potent attack and never allowed talisman Neil McManus time and space to stamp in influence on the game. Today, it was Rossa who decided whose terms the match would be played under. They never let Cushendall get a stranglehold on proceedings and never trailed by more than two points, in fact they kept their North Antrim opponents scoreless from play until the 22nd minute.

Stephen Beatty who scored both Rossa goals in their win over Cushendall

The game plan itself was pretty simple a delighted Murphy said after the final whistle. “Our whole game plan was to stick in the match as long as we can and keep it tight and unleash someone like (Stephen) Beatty into the square and that’s why with the wind we stuck Beatty in and he caught a few balls, and got both goals, and the man is just class, as Mickey Armstrong as a load of them are.” 

There’s been no secret recipe to the Rossa revolution. Hard work, sacrifice and most of all in Murphy’s eyes, enjoyment while also praising a new found mindset that his players have found this year. “Enjoyment is the key but you have to want to go training because you just can’t turn up on match day. Everyone wants to be number 1, but not everybody’s prepared to put the work in to be number 1. But they are now. They’re not missing training; they’re changing things to go training you can see the enjoyment they’re having; you can see the enjoyment the supporters are having which is just fantastic for the club.

Looking ahead to next weeks semi-final and a second clash with Dunloy, Murphy was quick to label the current holders of the Volunteer Cup as firm favourites. “Dunloy are overwhelming favourites. I’ve said it from the start. They’re a class act. Their movement, everything. We gave it what for up at our pitch. It’s a completely different game next week. We’ll be 5/1 again and they’ll be 1/8 which is understandable and I think that’s the proper odds, but at the same time we are in with a punchers chance. We’re still above ground.”

The Rossa manger went on to state that Gregory O’Kane’s side will now know what to expect the next day out and that the element of surprise that Rossa had the last day would now be lost. “They’ll not play the way they did against us the last day. They’ll be a lot more fluid. Everyone has watched Dunloy over the years and you know their players. But at the same time, they didn’t know ours so we probably caught them a wee bit on the hop regards that. But they know their game plan as we do for every game and we’ll take it from there.”

A different clash is expected but one that Murphy and his side are looking forward to and one that they won’t fear.

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