BY DENIS HURLEY
BOTH of the Beara clubs in the county football championships get their campaigns underway on Saturday night, with neither preaching huge optimism.
At 6.45pm in Bantry, Castletownbere clash with Naomh Abán in the PIFC first round. Castletown have lost six of seven games in Division 3 and selector Donal O’Sullivan is conscious of the other commitments of the new additions to the panel at this time of year.
‘We’re probably going through a transition,’ he says.
‘When the management team came in at the start of the year, we took the view that, for the long-term future of the team and progress for the future, we had to blood young fellas.
‘They’ve done well but a lot of them – about eight – are doing the Leaving Cert, so obviously that affects preparations. James Harrington, Declan Dunne, Conor McQuaid, Reece Dillane, they’ve all come in and even Gary Murphy, who was a big part of the team last year, is still only that age too.’
Former Cork minor manager O’Sullivan also points to the geographical isolation of the club as having a toll on the poor league form.
‘Of all of our opponents in Division 3, our nearest ones are St Vincent’s and St Michael’s in the city,’ O’Sullivan says.
‘There are teams like Glanworth, Mitchelstown, Rockchapel, Kanturk and Kildorrery there so you’re looking at a round trip of 200 miles.
‘It’s an added onus.’
Nevertheless, they still possess some tough performers.
‘We still have Andrew O’Sullivan, Donagh Wiseman, Trevor Collins and Lorcan Harrington, so we’ll try to integrate the younger guys with them,’ O’Sullivan says.
‘Dave Fenton and Dean Murphy are only coming back from injuries so we’ll see how they are and David Murphy is a doubt.
‘It’ll be very tough, going up against a Division 1 team who play a nice brand of football but we’ll try to keep it as competitive as we can.’
Castletownbere’s neighbours Adrigole make the trip to Inchigeela to take on Ballydesmond (7pm). Their manager Kevin Green is left frustrated by the inability to inject young blood into the panel.
‘We’re caught with the rule that you can’t play players under 17,’ he says.
‘Last year, we had nobody on that age so we couldn’t play them anyway and this year we’re prevented from adding anyone. Darragh Carey is gone because of a persistent back injury and we lost Eamonn Jer O’Sullivan at the end of last year too and he’s still out.
‘It has been hard to get a full team out but hopefully the new format will be a help.’
Fixtures: Friday, May 13th
Cork JBHC Round 1
7.30pm Laochra Óg v Killavullen, at Donoughmore
Saturday, May 14th
Cork SHC Round 1
7pm Avondhu v Ballymartle, at Rathcormac
Cork PIFC Round 1
6.45pm Castletownbere v Naomh Aban, at Bantry
Cork IFC Round 1
7pm Adrigole v Ballydesmond, at Inchigeela
Cork U21 B FC
7pm St Nick’s v Ibane Gaels, at Bandon
Cork JBFC Round 2
7pm Cobh v Grange, at Lisgoold
Sunday, May 15th
Cork SHC Prelim Round
3.30pm Killeagh v Muskerry, at Páirc Uí Rinn