SOMETIMES even the best laid plans come unstuck.
Last week we picked a West Cork senior football team to play the Carbery junior All-Stars and had intended to pick a hurling team this week to play the Junior Hurling All-Stars.
The new team would include players from Newcestown, Bandon, Kilbrittain, Argideen Rangers and Barryroe intermediate teams.
The problem was when we tried to pick that team we ended up with about a dozen players from Newcestown, which is understandable as they were the hurling team of the year in West Cork, winning the premier intermediate hurling championship and entering senior ranks for the first time ever in 2016.
We felt a bit guilty about the few Newcestown lads that were being omitted as theirs was a real team effort all season, especially the marvellous final performance against Valley Rovers, and we also felt that we were leaving out some very good hurlers from the other clubs just because Newcestown had been so successful as a team.
So, like in all good things in this world, we decided that compromise was the best avenue to take and we came up with three hurling teams to represent West Cork for 2015, the Carbery Junior All-Stars, the full Newcestown team, and the intermediate team (minus Newcestown).
We will let it up to the reader to pick a West Cork All-Star Fifteen from the 45 players involved. The Newcestown fifteen is the one that started the county final.
So to our intermediate team, from the pick of Kilbrittain, Bandon, Argideen and Barryroe.
The goalkeeping spot is a toss-up between James McSweeney, Robert Hayes, Ger Keohane and John Joe Butler, all experienced and capable, with the Argideen man Butler getting the spot.
The full-back line can be selected from James Walsh and Mattie McNamara of Bandon; Damien Desmond and Cal McCarthy of Kilbrittain; Ger O’Leary and Timmy Carroll of Barryroe; Robert Nolan and Joe Sheehan of Argideen. Our three picks are James Walsh, Damien Desmond and Mattie McNamara.
For the half-back line we have Joe Harrington, Donagh Lucey and Eoghan O’Donovan of Bandon; John Murphy and Chris Hickey of Kilbrittain; Kieran Griffin and Jason Fleming of Barryroe; Johnny Deasy, Paudie Butler and Joe Murphy of Argideen. Our three selections are Paudie Butler, Donagh Lucey and Chris Hickey.
There is no shortage of good midfielders in Peter Murphy, Bandon; Ross Cashman and Pat O’Mahony of Kilbrittain; John O’Donovan and Tadhg Harrington of Barryroe; Finbarr Butler and Cathal O’Donovan of Argideen. Our duo for the middle of the park are Ross Cashman and John O’Donovan.
Most young hurlers love playing in the half-forward line and it shows in the fine selection of players available for selection. Jason Hickey and Darren Crowley of Bandon; Maurice Sexton and David Desmond of Kilbrittain; Ciarán Hurley and Adrian Fleming of Barryroe; John Michael O’Callaghan and Michael O’Callaghan of Argideen. For our team we picked Maurice Sexton, John Michael O’Callaghan and Darren Crowley.
Finally to the full-forward line, which includes players like Philip Crowley, Mark Sugrue and Ronan Crowley of Bandon; Alan Hayes and Declan Harrington of Kilbrittain; Gearóid Whelton and Mike O’Brien of Barryroe and Rory O’Sullivan and Mikey Walsh of Argideen. Our front line of attack would be Rory O’Sullivan, Gearóid Whelton and Ronan Crowley.
Our Carbery intermediate team would be John Joe Butler (Argideen), James Walsh (Bandon), Damien Desmond (Kilbrittain), Mattie McNamara (Bandon), Paudie Butler (Argideen), Donagh Lucey (Bandon), Chris Hickey (Kilbrittain), John O’Donovan (Barryroe), Ross Cashman (Kilbrittain), Maurice Sexton (do.), John Michael O’Callaghan (Argideen), Darren Crowley (Bandon), Rory O’Sullivan (Argideen), Gearóid Whelton (Barryroe), Ronan Crowley (Bandon).
The Westlodge Junior Hurling All-Star team that was selected last month was Mark White (Clonakilty), Tom Collins (Dohenys), Pa O’Sullivan (Clonakilty), Gearóid O’Donovan (Diarmuid Ó Mathúna), Denis Murphy (Clonakilty), Patrick Crowley (Diarmuid O’Mathúna), David Lowney (Clonakilty), Alan Murphy (do.), Jerry McCarthy (Dohenys), Sean O’Shea (St Colum’s), Sean White (Clonakilty), Conor O’Driscoll (St Oliver Plunkett’s), John Paul O’Callaghan (Diarmuid Ó Mathúna), Thomas Clancy (Clonakilty) and Kevin O’Donovan (Diarmuid Ó Mathúna).
The Newcestown team which will campaign in senior ranks next season and which beat Valley Rovers in the county final was Darren Heffernan, Greg Murphy, John Crowley, Mícheál McSweeney, Conor O’Neill, James Desmond, Fionn Keane, Tadhg Twomey, Jack Meade, Luke Meade, Cárthach Keane, Cian Twomey, Daniel Twomey, Sean O’Donovan, Eoin Kelly. Regular goalkeeper Kieran Kelly was injured for the final, while the subs who came on were Mike Bradfield, Sean Ryan, Trevor Horgan and Colm Dineen.
There you have the 50 top hurlers in Carbery, in our book, for 2015 and one can only dream what a Carbery team, comprised of a fully-committed top 25, could have achieved in the senior championship.
As it stands, even without the Newcestown players, a properly prepared and committed team could do very well in the 2016 championship, with a mouth-watering clash with reigning championships Glen Rovers to look forward to in the first round.
Carbery will start that game as rank outsiders but what a challenge it presents for our best hurlers in West Cork to prove themselves on the biggest stage. So, what about the adult hurlers of West Cork in 2016? If they are serious, now is the time to start getting in some preparatory work before the busy club season begins.
Slán go Fóill