BY KIERAN McCARTHY
THE Carbery GAA board could pull its senior hurling team from the county championship if results and performances aren’t up to scratch – but they have committed to entering the team in the 2018 campaign.
Two months ago it looked increasingly likely that the Carbery senior hurling team would be withdrawn from next year’s championship but productive dialogue with clubs – and a more positive approach – has saved the team for now.
Carbery GAA vice-chairman Tom Lyons feels there is an appetite amongst Carbery junior clubs to back the division’s senior hurling team but he sounded a warning.
‘In two years time when the four-year trial of the championships, 2016 to 2019, is over there is a strong possibility that the divisional teams could be pulled all round,’ he explained.
‘If they continue but Carbery teams over the next two years fare badly, then the Carbery teams could be pulled, especially the hurling.
‘The board wishes to continue but only if the performances are competitive, the clubs support it properly and there is some good being derived from participating. Right now there isn’t.’
The 2017 Carbery senior hurling management team – led by manager Charlie Vaughan – remains at the helm and that is already a positive development ahead of next season as in recent years the board has left it late to appoint a manager which then hindered preparations.
‘There is an enthusiastic management team in place for the hurlers who are anxious to drive on the team. They were given a two-year term, 2017-2018, and we can’t pull the plug on them,’ Lyons explained.
‘The players want to play for Carbery but some club coaches are not encouraging them and county board fixtures are often detrimental to the intermediates teams giving
players to Carbery.
‘In hurling the junior clubs, in general, are for entering a Carbery team but the team needs intermediate players and that’s where the difficulty lies.
‘Nobody really wants to see the end of divisional teams because it is the only outlet for many players to ever play senior. To improve hurling in Carbery we need the players to be playing against the best hurlers in the county.’
The decision of the Cork County Board to revert to divisional teams playing in a group stage in the early stages of the championship is also favoured by Carbery clubs despite only one guaranteed match.
In 2017 the Carbery hurlers beat Avondhu 2-23 to 0-17 in Round 1 before the losing heavily to Na Piarsaigh (1-29 to 0-9) in Round 2A and Killeagh (3-23 to 1-15) in Round 3.
Meanwhile, there was never a discussion around the future of the Carbery senior football team with the board committed to its flagship outfit.
In fact, 2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of the famous 1968 Cork SFC title win when they beat Clonakilty in the final replay.
The board has not finalised its football management team for 2018 and they will contact outgoing manager Gene O’Driscoll to gauge his interest in the position, despite indications that he will not remain in charge for an eighth season in a row.
Also, Tom Lyons revealed that the Carbery minor hurling team is being entered in Rebel Óg Premier 1 in 2018. The Carbery team will include two members of Cork’s 2017 All-Ireland U17 hurling winning team, Ciarán Nyhan and Ronan McCarthy of Owen Gaels.