THE attitude among the Rossa hurlers is different this year.
That’s the feeling that Stephen Beatty has had this year. Beatty is one of the more seasoned campaigners in the team at 29 years old, and he is also one of the players who remembers the 2004 Senior Hurling Championship victory as he was there as a fan.
He says that ever since he joined the senior team he believed that the group was good enough to reach the championship final again. They just needed to be in the right frame of mind.
“For the first time, I feel like Rossa is a hurling team. We are all in the same frame of mind. We are doing a lot of nights and a lot of work, but no one is complaining. We are all just putting the work in and putting the shoulder to the wheel and it is paying off.
“As regards this week though, we are nervous. I had the football last weekend which was a distraction for me (Rossa played in the senior championship). I was up at the field at the weekend and I was hitting the ball about and now I am getting a bit jittery and starting to think about the match.
“That is all part of it, but it is more about excitement rather than nerves.”
The difference this year has been buy in. Beatty said that in the past, when Rossa might have had a chance to go close, the players didn’t fully believe.
“That has been the problem for our club in the past. Boys have came and gone. They have dipped their toe in during the league but come the championship they are not around. This year we have a squad of maybe over 30 players. Every session we go to they are there. When we are in the gym, everyone is there.
“We are all going for the same thing and we want it.”
Getting back to the final was a huge milestone for Beatty.
“I am 29 and I was starting to thing would we ever get there. I remember 2004. I remember getting there. I was 12. I can remember the final. I remember being in the club house after, the celebrations. I have always thought that I wanted that to be us. I wanted that for my team, and for the boys that I grew up with.”
The players he is talking about Michael Armstrong, Christopher McGuinness, Ciaran Orchin.
“I knew we were good enough it was just a matter of getting the right blend. We have got it now. We have got players like Deaglan (Murphy) who is really starting to come good. He is really starting to catch fire. I just want it for the club. We have been 17 years without being in the county final.
“I have won a minor championship, an u-21 championship, a lot of boys have tasted success but as Colly says, that counts for nothing if you don’t actually step up and bring it.”
Colly Murphy is the manager, and one of the driving forces behind the success of the team this year. Beatty believes that Murphy’s impacts has been important.
“We have had some great managers over the year but it hasn’t fell for us. Michael Armstrong says that he (Colly) is a mad man. He is fixated on Rossa hurling. He is making everything right so that we are where we are. When you have that, as well as a great bunch of lads who are really pushing, and the quality that we have, that’s why we are where we are.”
The challenge they face to go one step further is that they have to beat a very strong Dunloy team. Dunloy are going for three in a row. The Cuchullains have talented hurlers, and they are also battled hardened and will believe that they can win this game no matter what Rossa do.
“I really admire their forwards, their pace and their movement. They have pace coming from midfield as well. The pace coming from Molloy (Keelan) is frightening. I watched him in our semi-final last year. I watched his pace and I was laughing because I knew if I was chasing him there would be a hundred metre gap between us.
“They have six forwards there who would get onto any team in the county.
“At the same time we have good forwards and a good team and I think we are two well matched teams and it will be a great final.”