By Kevin Herron
Ciaran Orchin is delighted that the hard yards that his club have put in this season is coming to fruition
Featuring in their first County Senior Hurling final in 17-years, Orchin – who turned 29 on Friday says it is a privilege for his side to be back in the decider and they can’t wait for Sunday to arrive.
“I’m delighted, it’s the hard work throughout the year coming to material” acknowledges Orchin.
“I was 11-years old the last time we reached the county final back then and I remember being on the pitch celebrating – they were great days. We’re just privileged to be back in a final 17-years on. We all just work as hard as we can to get here and it’s everyone’s goal- so we’re delighted and can’t wait until Sunday”.
Orchin is one of a number of current Rossa panellists that helped the Shaws Road outfit to All-Ireland intermediate success back in 2015 and he recalls that the decision to drop into Intermediate hurling was done to reignite a flame within the code.
“It was a rebuilding stage at that time” Orchin recalls.
“We took the initiative to get down just to try and ignite a bit of a flame and it’s taken off now. We’re happy at this stage and we’ve progressed and made strides in those six-years- which was the ultimate goal”.
Orchin insists that their mentality has been to take things a game at a time and is delighted to be able to take on the challenge of trying to stop Sunday’s favourites.
“We just take each game as it comes” he insists.
“They [Dunloy] are coming in trying to get three-in-a-row and naturally they will be favourites. They can back that up, they’ve great hurlers and great pedigree behind them. we’re just happy to take on the challenge”.
The 29-year-old is adamant that winning Sundays final has always been the ultimate goal since their semi-final victory over Cushendall, but their status as one of Antrim’s three clubs that ply their trade at the top table of football and hurling meant that they couldn’t give their full attention to the hurling final for the last two weeks as he explains.
“That’s the ultimate goal is winning the Cup at the end of the day” Orchin maintains.
“But we were so heavily involved in both codes that we’d to play a football match at the weekend to try and get to the next stage as well. We were pushing on all fronts, now we just have the focus in the build-up, and we just take each day as it comes”.
For the second year in succession covid has hampered club preparations and Orchin- who works for pharmaceutical company Randox- believes that their side have did well to avoid being hampered at any stage and revealed that manager Colly Murphy set strict standards to avoid the possibility of an outbreak within the team.
“We’ve been really strict, Colly [Murphy] has set standards from the start of the year and everybody has adhered to that” Orchin revealed.
“Everybody’s families at the heart of it essentially so everybody wants to maintain their health. We’re just fortunate that we haven’t really had a bad brunt of Covid this year and everyone is just delighted to get another day like this. To see everybody there on Sunday and a positive atmosphere and Antrim hurling on centre stage. I think now that Corrigan Park has had a revamp- it can only be a positive for Antrim hurling. The more eyeballs on Antrim hurling the better”.