GAA

30 Years After His Great Day, Mulcahy Hopes For Another For Glen Rovers

30 Years After His Great Day, Mulcahy Hopes For Another For Glen Rovers

Tomás Mulchay recalls bringing the Seán Óg Murphy Cup over the Christy Ring Bridge on the way home to Blackpool.

It was fitting that they took that route. On the team - ten years after his father's death - was Christy Ring Junior, son of the Cork hurling legend after whom the crossing of the River Lee was named.

It was 1989 and Glen Rovers had just won their first Cork hurling title in 13 years, beating Sarsfields in the final. For such a storied club, it was an unexpected drought.

"It's had so many famous names, so many famous players that played with the club," says Mulcahy, who claimed his only Cork SHC winner's medal that year. He was both captain and selector.

There to meet us on the bridge was Jack Lynch. He's known through the length and breadth of Ireland. When he was alive, he was a passionate Glen Rovers man and went to a lot of our games. He really enjoyed the success.

It was a massive team performance. Sometimes, when you go to club games and you look at the inter-county guys playing you say 'They have a strong team' but sometimes it's the guys who wouldn't be playing inter-county that are the real stalwarts. That was epitomised by that team.

Little did the club know that though one drought had been ended, an even longer one was about to begin. They again reached the Cork final in 1991 but it would be 2010 until they progressed to another decider and five years after that before they ended the barren run.

Times have since massively improved for the north Cork city side. The club featured in three consecutive county finals between 2014 and 2016 - winning twice - but that was not before its very existence was threatened. Glen Rovers found itself on its knees when the banking crisis hit over a decade ago.

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"There were debts there and loans to be paid," says Mulchay, Chairman of Games for the hurling side of the club from minor up to the senior team.

"Income figures had dropped considerably but we've turned it around.

"With the help of SportsDirect, Blackwater Motors and other sponsors, we've changed it around and come out of the doldrums. We're in a very good place."

That good place includes a spot in today's Cork final against an Imokilly side going for their third consecutive county title.

The spirit which got the club through those tough years has been evident both in the run to today's final and the build-up.

"We have six sets of floodlights but had to bring in more because they're not working and we couldn't afford to fix them because it would cost around €60,000 - €70,000 at this stage," says Mulcahy.

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"We had to hire in lights for the last two weeks for training purposes. We did it and got it paid for. That's the spirit which has been shown in the community.

"We've had generous contributions from people who would not want to be named but they know what Glen Rovers in a county final is about. It brings a bit of expense, but that's fine. There's a lot of clubs in the county who would love to be in that position.

"We've had a few lucky escapes. We played really well against Midleton in the first round, got out of it by the skin of our teeth against Charleville below in Mallow and we'd be the first to admit that maybe they should have won the match.

"Newtownshardrum would probably say they should have beaten us in Páirc Uí Rinn. There's one thing we always pride ourselves on in Blackpool and that's the spirit of the Glen, a never-say-die attitude, and that's what got us over the line against Charleville - other teams would have folded that night. We kept going, and when time was almost up got it to extra-time and won it.

"To win on Sunday would be incredible. To me, it would be the best senior county title that Glen Rovers have won in the last 30 or 40 years. I'd put it up there on that level because we are written off for Sunday.

"We're under no illusion that it's going to take an almighty effort from Glen Rovers to win this one. There's a spirit in Blackpool and if we can bring that to the fore and we take the game to Imokilly, we have a very good chance."

See Also: The Galway Coach Hoping To Beat The Bogeyman And Repeat History

PJ Browne
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