CELBRIDGE might have dominated things for the last number of years but Confey have been hot on their heels. The Leixlip based side have been in the Senior Hurling Championship final in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and yet again this year, writes Ruth Chambers.
Of those four finals they have only won twice, in ‘07 and ‘08, while last year they fell to Celbridge at St Conleth’s Park. Team selector Liam Dowd, who managed them to the aforementioned double, insists his side aren’t in it on Sunday just to make up the numbers despite being the underdogs.
“It’s absolutely great to make another final. I suppose a lot of people wouldn’t have expected us to be here especially after the way we struggled over the last number of games. We hurled well in the first two games against Celbridge, it was the best hurling we played all year because the lads knew they were up against it.
“Then we went on and, whatever the reason for it, deteriorated. We didn’t hurl well through a number of games in the ones we lost and even in the ones we won. We were very lucky against Eire Og and we were very lucky to go through. You have to take luck when it come though and no better lads than ourselves to take it!,” admitted Dowd.
Confey started the 2012 championship with a bang when they beat the holders after a replay in Leixlip but it somewhat went downhill thereafter and Dowd insists much improvement is needed if they are to emerge victorious this Sunday.
“The character is still there thankfully but we’ve had a tenancy to go in and out of games but in the semi final we hurled very well and more consistently but it wasn’t perfect either. We wasted an awful lot of possession and we drifted in and out of it. That’s a major concern. We know that we have to up the ante for the final or we won’t come away with a county title. We’re in the final and we’re not in it for fun, we’re in it to win it. We will up our game.
“We have a group of players that have matured along and a lot of them are touching 30 and they are not our young crop anymore. It’s great to be in it (the final) but we have to up our game. Our work rate has been encouraging, so has the will to win but our consistency needs to be better. In games this year we’ve disappeared for ten or 15 minutes.
“In the semi final we weren’t perfect for the hour by any means and in particularly the second quarter. First we had a great period, we also had a period when we didn’t win possession, then we started winning an awful lot of possession in the last quarter but didn’t use it. The game was in the balance at the end and the long ball proved lucky for us,” explained the selector.
Confey’s job on Sunday is to stop Celbridge winning four titles on the trot. Their job is to claim their third ever title. They’ve beaten the Hazelhatch Road side already this year. Can they do it again or will Damien Byrne’s side gain revenge? It’s all to play for!
“We’re delighted to be there and this bunch are a great old team and a lovely bunch of lads. Sometimes it’s hard to get them all fired up and firing on all cylinders at all times but the hunger is back,” said Dowd.