Sport

Bandon back with big boys

May 6th, 2017 3:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Future opponents? If Bandon can beat Muskerry this Sunday, then a clash with Blackrock awaits them in the next round. Pictured at the recent Cork SHC launch at Páirc Uí Rinn were David O'Farrell, Blackrock, and Bandon's Darren Crowley. (Photo: Jim Coughlan)

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2016 Cork PIHC champs make the step up

 

BY DENIS HURLEY

 

THE last time Bandon competed in the county senior hurling championship, it was during the short-lived group stage era.

A 2-14 to 2-12 loss to Sarsfields in Ballinhassing on July 13, 1980 ended their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages of that year’s championship and that winter the club took the decision to regrade to intermediate.

After that, a stint at junior followed, with that county title won in 1999, the IHC claimed in 2011 and then last year’s premier intermediate title sending the club back to the top tier. Their championship campaign begins in Brinny on Sunday with a clash against Muskerry (3.30pm) and Lilywhites selector Paddy Cahalane is hopeful that they can carry on where they left off last year.

‘It’s very exciting, it’d be nice to keep the momentum going, definitely,’ he says.

‘There’s definitely a step up, there’s no doubt about that. We haven’t had a full team, really, with injuries and things.

‘It’s exciting from the point of view of going to different grounds and playing against new teams. We’ve been away to Bishopstown, Youghal and Killeagh, whereas we had been premier intermediate since 2011 so you were coming up against the same teams all the time.’

Bandon are unfortunate in that injuries have struck at the wrong time. Eoghan O’Donovan (broken leg), Philip Crowley (broken thumb) and Rory Fogarty (broken foot) all missed the recent PIFC game and will be out again, but Donough Lucey should have recovered from a hamstring injury.

With players missing, league form has been mixed.

‘We’ve had a draw and a defeat and four losses,’ Cahalane says.

‘Of the six games we’ve played, the lads have been performing well for the most part. We were very disappointed with one performance, away to Killeagh, but there have been injuries to key players. 

‘It’s all geared towards Muskerry now.’

From that point of view, Cahalane and his fellow members of a management team led by Niall O’Halloran have found reconnaissance difficult, but he accepts that Muskerry’s preparations are likely to have been hampered too.

‘It’s very hard to know when you’re up against a divisional team,’ he says.

‘From a selector’s point of view, when you’re playing a club you can go and look at them and see what they’re like, but that’s not available to you.

‘In fairness to Muskerry, I don’t know if they have much done. From my experience, looking at Carbery and playing with them long ago, you don’t what the situation will be with a divisional team until the day of the game.

‘With the demands of clubs, I think there are six or seven intermediate clubs in Muskerry, they’ll find it very difficult to do a lot. 

‘There’s no question that they have fantastic players on the team, but a lot will come down to the day, that’s the way it is with divisional teams.’

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