TIM Buckley is leaving no stone unturned as the Carbery footballers continue their preparations for the revamped county senior football championship.
Given the talent in the division, the Carbery boss is confident that they can make an impact in the new-look championship this season, which initially features two groups of three teams in the divisional round-robin section.
He is also delighted with the co-operation from clubs and the buy-in from players, as work continues ahead of their first championship game against Muskerry on Wednesday, May 20th at Páirc Uí Rinn, followed by their second group game against Seandún the following Wednesday, May 27th, again at at Páirc Uí Rinn. Both these games are double-headers with the Carbery hurlers.
‘We have had the main group together since October. With the leagues up and running now, we’re getting out to games and we’ll bring new lads in who are putting their hands up,’ Buckley explained.
‘Our focus for February is to get a solid panel together and start gelling. We have had a strong group in for the last three, four months doing preparation work.
‘We train once a week at the moment and we try to mix that up with the clubs. For example, out of 40 last Friday night we had 16 in. The week before we had a different 16 and they were back with their clubs last Friday night.’
Co-operation between the Carbery management team and the division’s clubs is very important – and Buckley has been buoyed from the enthusiasm from clubs and players.
‘The clubs have been excellent, especially the managers,’ Buckley said.
‘They all see the benefits of having a player involved with Carbery, especially a young fella being involved and training at that standard because that feeds back into their club when they go back and they see their fitness and skills levels improving.
‘It’s a great honour too for clubs to have players on the Carbery team and that reflects very well on the clubs and the great work they are doing.’
The structured programme in place this season also helps. It’s still February, yet Carbery players and management know the dates of their games in May and beyond, if the Carbery footballers progress from their group.
‘The structure is all laid out in front of us, we know exactly what’s happening, the programme is there so fellas can prepare then and they can plan ahead too and manage things outside of football,’ Buckley said.
While Carbery can’t call on Bandon and Bantry Blues players this season as those clubs are both in the senior A football championship, the divisional team still has a strong selection to pick from.
‘Obviously, Bandon and Bantry are big losses, but there is a wealth of talent in West Cork and it has opened the door for other fellas to come in and show what they can do,’ Buckley said.
There are familiar faces like the O’Driscoll brothers (Colm, Kevin and Brian) from Tadhg MácCarthaigh, Cork U20 footballers Jack Lawton, Ryan O’Donovan, Ciarán Nyhan and Ian Jennings, the Carbery-winning St James’ contingent, Don O’Driscoll of Clann na nGael is back this season and many more top footballers from across the division.
Tim Buckley acknowledges that given they have more time to prepare for the championship, that expectation levels will be higher this season, but he’s confident Carbery will be primed to race out of the blocks on May 20th.
This is his third season in charge of the Carbery senior footballers and in the past he has managed the Doheny seniors, the Cork U17s, and a number of Carbery clubs.
‘We’ve assembled a very strong backroom team this year and everyone is pulling in the same direction. Clubs, players, everyone wants Carbery to be successful and if we keep working together, we’ll give ourselves every chance this season,’ Buckley added.