BY DENIS HURLEY
BANDON will be hoping that Saturday’s IFC rematch with Cill na Martra in Kilmurry (3.30pm) will have a different outcome to the clubs’ meeting earlier this year.
On April 23rd, Kilmurry was also the venue as Bandon played their first intermediate football championship game in 23 years, but their Gaeltacht opponents were too strong, triumphing by 0-13 to 0-7.
Bandon were down but far from out and subsequent wins over Clonakilty, Ballydesmond, Glanworth and Mitchelstown have brought them to the semi-final stage and familiar opponents, 161 days later. Colm Aherne, the manager of last year’s junior champions, isn’t totally surprised.
‘We actually said it after they beat us in the first game,’ he says, ‘that if we going to do any good in the championship we’d probably end up meeting them again.
‘At the start of the year, themselves and Kanturk would have been seen as the two favourites and rightly so.’
While it’s unfair to say that Bandon were over-confident ahead of the first game, league displays might have been misleading, with regard to the quality of opposition.
‘I’ve said it already this year, but we might have had a false confidence from the league results,’ Aherne says.
‘We’re in Division 4 and, with all due respect to the teams there, some of them are only second teams and wouldn’t beat the top junior teams.
‘Cill na Martra are in Division 2 and that means that they’ve played senior and premier intermediate teams, which is a huge advantage, it definitely was in the first round, we were blown away.
‘There were three points in it at the end, but it wouldn’t have flattered them if it was a ten-point game. We thought we were alright but we were well off the pace, though you have to credit Cill na Martra too, they blew us away, we hadn’t faced anything like that before.’
As disappointing as that day was for the Lilywhites (or Lilypurples, as they wore Carbery jerseys due to the colour-clash and will do again on Saturday), it didn’t result in a tailspin manifesting itself.
‘The positive thing though was that there was no question of lads dropping their heads,’ Aherne says.
‘There’s a very strong sense of self-determination within the group and they were able to off and play hurling for a few weeks, they had a great win over Charleville and that raised spirits again.
‘The lads are all very demanding of each other, we don’t really need to say much to them, to be honest.
With the club flying high in hurling, reaching the county PIHC final with victory over Mallow last week, and football league promotion secured too, confidence is high, and Aherne wants to harness more of that.
‘We’re hoping for a good performance,’ he says, ‘obviously we won’t know until we take the pitch but there’s a bit more experience there since the last time. We’re going very well in the hurling and we beat Ballydesmond in the league on Monday too so we’re guaranteed promotion and we’ll have the league final against Na Piarsaigh coming up.
‘Winning is a great habit and we’re hoping that it’ll continue.’