BY DENIS HURLEY
A FORTNIGHT later than planned, Bantry Blues will begin their premier intermediate football campaign this weekend, clashing with city side St Vincent’s in Enniskeane at 4.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
The game had been due to take place last Saturday week, but was postponed – eventually – at the request of Bantry following the tragic death of Michael Moran, a midfielder on the sides which won the county SFC in 1995 and 1998.
The new scheduling will make things difficult for the Bantry contingent involved with Carbery, but it was the only timeslot available. Bantry are managed by Arthur Coakley, aided by Tony O’Shea and Mike Lynch, and it is a side with the proverbial mix of youth and experience.
Cork’s 2010 All-Ireland-winning captain Graham Canty captains the side this year and leads by example, while his brother Niel is another seasoned campaigner.
Stephen Coughlan, who is in Australia, will be a loss but Ruairí Deane will look to continue his good form during the league with Cork while Seán O’Leary and Tim Foley were on the county U21 panel and Coakley’s son Kevin and Eoghan Minihane were both part of the minor set-up.
The flipside of county representation means absence from club preparations, but such is the nature of things. They began their Division 3 league programme with a draw against Fermoy before beating Rockchapel and while they were overcome by senior side Carrigaline, they triumphed against Glanworth last week and sit fourth in the table.
‘It can be tough to integrate everyone,’ the manager said, ‘but we’d be hoping that those lads can improve the team when they come back in.