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Bandon hurlers to fight for premier intermediate lives

September 16th, 2023 2:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Bandon manager Donal Kelleher.

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IT’S a case of putting it all on the line for Bandon as they face Carrigaline in the Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier IHC relegation play-off this weekend.

Ballinspittle is the venue for the 2pm throw-in on Sunday. The Lilywhites finished bottom of a group featuring Ballincollig, Castlelyons and Dungourney, with Carrigaline the other side to fail to record a win across three matches.

There was some encouragement for Bandon in how the display in their most recent game, the 0-22 to 1-16 reversal against Dungourney, was their best and manager Donal Kelleher is keen to build on that.

‘It was probably one of our better performances this year, to be honest,’ he says.

‘We played well and we were up five points but we lost our shape a small bit when we should have pushed on. We had two wides when we were up by five and that probably cost us the match. Part of the reason was that we hadn’t been in a winning mode all year so that probably had an impact on us at that stage, as well.’

However, now they are left with a must-win tie, with Kelleher hoping that injury worries can clear.

‘It’s a real cup final, that’s the way you look at it,’ he says, ‘winner takes all and loser gets relegated.

‘This is not an excuse by any means, but we are a victim of six matches in eight weeks and this is going to be seven matches in nine weeks, where the vast majority of both panels are involved in both codes.

‘Injuries are taking their toll at this stage and we have a significant amount of players in doubt for the weekend.

‘We have two suspended [Cathal Lynch and Oisín Hennessy] and five injured – I definitely wouldn’t see all five of those being fit, so we’ll definitely be down a few for Sunday.’

One saving grace in such games is that the opposition aren’t coming in with much momentum, either. This weekend’s game is actually the first of two relegation games that Carrigaline must play as they are up against Mallow in the Premier SFC play-off.

‘I’m actually surprised that Carrigaline hurlers are in the position that they find themselves in at the moment,’ Kelleher says.

‘We played them earlier on in the year and they were absolutely flying it. They had Ballymartle, Éire Óg and Valley Rovers in their group and you would have expected them to win one or two of those games.

‘Again, the dual-club aspect has bitten them the same as it has bitten us a little bit.’

Ultimately, the result is all, as Kelleher is aware.

‘It doesn’t matter how you do it,’ he says, ‘it’s better to win playing ugly than to lose playing well.’

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