BY TOM LYONS
DAVID Lowney is a unique specimen, a county hurler in a predominantly football club in the heart of West Cork.
Only a tiny handful of Clonakilty men have worn a Cork hurling shirt and when he lined out with Cork minors two years ago, Lowney walked in the same footsteps as the mighty Clon legend, Tadhgo Crowley, who won an All-Ireland minor hurling medal in the company of Christy Ring before embarking on a marvellous football career.
Lowney is also a fine footballer on the Clon senior team, but those who have watched him since his U12 days knew he was destined for hurling stardom.
He certainly hasn’t let the club down and this year lined out with the Cork U21 team, as well as being on the extended panel of the Cork senior team which set the hurling world alight this season.
At 20 years of age he is now the recognised leader of a very young and promising Clonakilty junior team.
‘I really enjoyed my time with the Cork hurlers,’ said Lowney.
‘I worked my way up through the development squads, onto the minor hurling team and now on the U21 and senior levels. This year, in particular, has been fantastic. The buzz in the Cork camp is amazing and you can see the huge improvement that has taken place. We do four nights a week and the in-camp A versus B games are amazing, so competitive. Everybody is hoping Kieran Kingston will stay on for another few seasons.’
It must be difficult to come down from the high level of the Cork camp to junior hurling in West Cork but Lowney takes it in his stride.
‘Of course it’s different but every team has its own set-up,’ he pointed out.
‘I’ve been lucky to be involved with UCC too. I was in first year and we had Seán Óg, Tom Kenny and Stephen Moylan in charge and they were fantastic. I’m playing county championship with UCC, too, and that helps my standards.
‘I go through a lot of coaches in a season but you learn a bit from every coach and try to apply that. I don’t have as much time as I would like training with my own club, Clonakilty, and the football commitments with Clon make things tough too.
‘At the moment we’re in the middle of a county U21 football campaign, two draws so far, and that has definitely interfered with our hurling preparations.’
Casting his mind to Sunday’s final, what does he expect from Ballinascarthy?
‘We’ll have our hands full, no doubt about that,’ said a realistic Lowney.
‘They’ve done a lot of hurling this year, much more than us and are probably ahead of us in development. We’re developing young players now, they’ve been doing it for a few years. They’re further ahead than us and won the county U21B four years ago. We lost the semi-final last year. It will take a huge effort to win this one.’
Down the line Lowney would like to see Clonakilty advance up the hurling ranks.
‘Of course we’d love to win the county junior, we’ve never done that before in the club,’ he said.
‘We’ve had good teams but could never make a mark on the county championship. I suppose it’s hard with the football commitments but there’s a different attitude there now.
‘While we’re just focussing on each game as it comes, this bunch of lads want to play a higher grade of hurling. They have won their way up through underage and know they could make an impression in the county junior.
‘I think the club needs an intermediate hurling team for the good of hurling in the club and a target for the young lads coming through. We’ve been playing junior for over 110 years as a club, it’s time to be a bit more ambitious.’