DUAL club Bandon is facing a hectic schedule in the weeks ahead, beginning with a Cork senior A football championship clash this Friday night.
The Lilywhites begin their county football championship odyssey with an opener against Clyda Rovers in Ballyanly (7.30pm) on Friday. Beyond Clyda, there are equally difficult encounters against Fermoy and Dohenys in the weeks ahead.
A West Cork derby against the latter has the potential to be a cracker but, naturally, Bandon manager Donal Kelleher cannot look past Clyda before focussing on Fermoy or their Carbery neighbours.
‘To be honest, Bandon is only looking at the Clyda Rovers game on Friday night and nothing else,’ Kelleher said.
‘You will have a lot of knocks and injuries over the course of the next few weeks the way the format of this year’s championship has been laid out. As a result, the dynamics are very different from what they normally would be for us.
‘I think this (championship) format is for sole football or hurling clubs. Dual clubs like ourselves will struggle this year. Bandon has six championship games in the next seven weeks. Professional rugby players aren’t asked to do that, and it is a huge ask for GAA players.’
The Bandon boss and his hurling counterpart face a tough job in juggling the club’s players across two codes in the middle of a crowded calendar.
‘Truth be told, we looked to play Clyda on a Friday evening because we will have four county championship games for the next four weeks,’ Kelleher explained.
‘We have football this weekend followed by two weekends of hurling and then football again. Bandon has a small panel to call upon for both football and hurling and, with the odd exception, both sets of players are involved in each grade.
‘The other issue that we have is that we’ve lost a lot of the old guard that has given tremendous service to Bandon GAA over the last 20 years. The likes of Cha Dullea (hurling), Jason Hickey (football) and Alan Johnson, who isn’t back just yet, are some of the experienced players that will most likely be missed.
‘In reality, Bandon is struggling a bit as we have other injuries that are a cause of concern for us right now. So, we must now bring through a lot of youth, both in hurling and football, over the while. It is a big ask for these young fellas to play four big championship games in four weekends though.’
Here’s a look at Bandon’s hectic football and hurling schedule in the weeks ahead as the club juggles senior A football and hurling championship campaigns:
Friday, July 24th: Bandon v Clyda Rovers (Senior A Football)
Saturday, August 1st: Bandon v Charleville (Senior A Hurling)
W/e August 7th – 9th: Bandon v Fermoy (Senior A Hurling)
W/e August 14th – 16th: Bandon v Dohenys (Senior A Football)
W/e August 28th – 30th: Bandon v Mallow (Senior A Hurling)
W/e September 4th – 6th: Bandon v Fermoy (Senior A Football)