Sport

Bantry Blues U21 success can ‘drive on’ intermediate team

March 2nd, 2024 10:30 AM

By Sean Holland

Bantry Blues captain Dara McCarthy with John Crowley and David Shiels after their Carbery U21A FC final win against Ibane Gaels. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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BANTRY Blues’ back-to-back Carbery U21 football title triumphs can boost the club’s intermediate team, says U21 boss Ivan Kingston.

The Blues’ recent Carbery U21A final win against Ibane Gaels ended Bantry’s 12-year wait for a title at this level, and followed on quickly from their U21B success in December 2023.

With Bantry’s adult team having lost the last two county premier intermediate football finals, the hope is the U21s’ winning run will give the whole club a lift.

‘You'd be hoping so,’ Kingston told The Star Sport Podcast

‘The intermediate team has been in two county finals in the last two years. Obviously, they want to drive on and finally get over the line, and with the likes of these lads coming through that will help; their attitude is fantastic. 

‘There's four or five of them that want to be starting for our intermediates this year, and that’s at least four or five and they will drive it on. There's some great lads coming up for Bantry’.

 

The signs are encouraging for Bantry, Kingston added, as the majority of the U21 team are eligible again next season. The best is yet to come from this young talented side. For what they lack in size, they more than make up for in footballing ability. 

‘We're a young U21 team. I think there are two of the starting team that are overage next year, and we have only five lads of the age on the squad, so we're young,’ the Blues U21 boss explained. 

‘Even though the last number of years in championship we would have been younger and smaller size-wise, they're starting to get bigger and that makes it easier that you're competing physically then as well. We still wouldn't be the biggest team or anything like that, but they have football, to be fair.'

Having won the West Cork title, Bantry will now represent Carbery in the county championship in October. Having to wait seven months to play in the Cork series is not ideal.

‘I'd love to see it played in the summer. I understand with inter-county and everything, it's obviously very hard, but it's a pity because the U21 is a fantastic grade of football. It's as good as anything you see out there,’ Kingston said. 

‘We just want to keep the lads playing football now for the summer. There are lads pushing on to the intermediate team, but then we have to make sure that we're providing football for the rest of the panel as well, who are going to be playing junior B football for us in the summer too. 

‘It's important that we keep them playing and keep them interested as well, because it's a long time. We can't just give up now and try and pick it up again at the end of the season. Hopefully, we'll keep them all coming and have a go off that as well,’ explained Kingston. 

On the Blues performance in the 4-10 to 1-9 final win against Ibane Gaels, Kingston added: ’Performance wise, it was just superb. That first-half performance was as good as I've seen them play. We’ll drive on for the county now, obviously as well.’ 

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