BY GER McCARTHY
CARBERY begin their 2019 Cork SFC campaign against CIT with Tim Buckley hoping to guide the division to a morale-boosting victory.
Last year, a narrow one-point defeat at the hands of UCC ended Carbery’s championship at the first hurdle. This time around, Buckley is hoping for a repeat performance but more favourable outcome against a CIT side likely to be bolstered by inter-county talent from both inside and outside the county bounds.
‘It’s hard to believe that we are looking into the first round of the Cork senior football championship on St Patrick’s weekend but it is what it is,’ Buckley said.
‘It is the same for all eight teams involved. We are all preparing to be as ready as we can. If you look at the structures beneath the Carbery senior set-up, we have three very strong intermediate teams and the region is dotted with junior clubs.
‘Strength in depth is definitely there. Like any other college or division, you have mitigating factors that run against and with you. Certainly, the football tradition is there in Carbery alright and we aim to carry it on.’
For any divisional manager, the mitigating factors Buckley mentions are indeed difficult to contend with. Carbery is no different in that selecting a starting team will depend on the squad’s junior and intermediate players’ availability.
‘It is important that the West Cork clubs see the good in the Carbery division playing senior football,’ Buckley noted.
‘It is important they see their players are coming into a senior set up, playing against other senior teams and that our players’ basic skills and fitness levels are improving because of it. In the main, we have a good rapport with all the West Cork club coaches within the division.’
Clearly, CIT are going to pose Carbery with as stern a test as Buckley could have asked for so early in the season. Last year, two epic battles with Castlehaven ended with the college losing out to an injury-time point following a third round replay.
CIT are expected to be just as strong this time around with some of Cork’s best young talent supplemented by a sprinkling of Kerry and other inter-county players. It is impossible for Buckley to know how their opponents will line up so all the Carbery manager can do is focus on his own squad and ensure they are ready to meet the challenge.
‘The beauty of the colleges and divisions set up is that all the teams are at a loss as to who they will have on the opening weekend,’ the Carbery football manager stated. ‘How do we approach the game? I guess you have to go back to your gut again and just look after ourselves. We will just size up what is in front of us, no different to any of the other seven teams involved at this stage of the year.
‘As for Carbery’s preparations, I am not really that happy with them to be honest. I will be happy if we win and then we can look back and say that things went right for us. Through nobody’s fault, we are hampered by the fact there is a huge glut of fixtures at this time of the year.
‘Clubs have been active since the start of February and the U21 championships have started now as well. All of our clubs are in action over St Patrick’s weekend too. So we will have to do a head count on Sunday evening to see who is available and put a team together from there.’
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