A RESURGENT Beara United are into the last eight of the Beamish Cup and chasing promotion to the West Cork League’s top tier.
It is three years since Beara United was resurrected and a solitary adult men’s team began competing in the WCL for the first time since 2012.
Since then, the Castletownbere club has developed into an even bigger club and one with an increasing importance within the local community.
Beara’s first team (men’s) are in the hunt for promotion from the OBrienWaterServices.com Championship Division. Even more encouragingly, Beara are successfully fielding a team in the WCL Women’s 7’s League and within touching distance of pacesetters Drinagh Rangers and Dunmanway Town.
Add in U12, U13 and U14 West Cork Schoolboys and Schoolgirls League representation (including this season’s U14 schoolboys’ Championship league title) and Beara United are firmly established as a vibrant West Cork League setup.
‘This is the strongest footing the club has been on for many years,’ Beara men’s manager Dominic Heffernan-Tietjen told The Southern Star.
‘Compared to where we were only a couple of years ago, the times we were thinking will our club be able to survive, everyone involved is just delighted with how well things are going right now.
‘Between our adult, schoolboys and underage (U7 to U11) teams, Beara fielded 13 teams last season.’
A hard-working committee, increased sponsorship plus an active social media presence are some of the reasons United has steadily grown its membership.
‘Like other West Cork League clubs, we struggled to get volunteers involved but now we have a big committee,’ Heffernan-Tietjen explained.
‘Restarting the men’s team was hugely important. That’s because a lot of our older players have gotten involved behind the scenes and in setting up and coaching our underage teams too. That’s been key.
‘Amalgamating our men’s and women’s clubs was even more important. Increasing the number of people on our committee has had a huge impact on our underage setup insofar as we have gained a lot of new coaches.
‘Positive results and the fact both the men’s and women’s team are doing well is also important. If both teams were struggling, there might not be half the interest in Beara United.’
Declan Dunne (2), Tom Dickinson and Ben Sullivan goals cemented Beara’s 4-1 WCL Beamish Cup quarter-final berth following victory away to Mizen Hob B recently. Possessing games in hand on the current Championship frontrunners gives United a decent chance of promotion and the knock-on effect is palpable.
‘There is definitely a bit of a buzz around the place right now and that has helped attract people back to Beara United,’ Heffernan-Tietjen said.
‘More and more people are coming to watch our matches, people who would never (previously) have had any interest in watching a West Cork League game.
‘Yes, it is a very competitive Championship but, to be honest, promotion wasn’t necessarily a goal for us at the start of the season. ‘We are taking it one game at a time but it is a brilliant division, and a brilliant league to play in.
‘Sullane are doing very well and top of the league. Castlelack are bottom and we beat them last week. Castlelack gave us as tough a game as Sullane did when they beat us 5-0.
‘Sponsorship, of course, is massive to the club’s survival. Milleens Cheese Ltd are our main underage sponsors and heavily involved with the club. Shellfish Ireland are our men’s team’s main sponsors and McCarthy’s Bar, Castletownbere have been very good to us as well.
‘One of the biggest accumulative expenses of any West Cork League team over the course of a season are referee matchday fees. This season, Beara United asked for matchday sponsors and the reaction has been fantastic. We always have someone lined up to help. That just shows how much Beara United has grown and continues to grow.’