BY DENIS HURLEY
THE advent of more games has certainly helped the prospects of the Carrigdhoun senior hurlers, Kevin Canty believes.
Changes to the county championship systems this year have seen divisional sides in with senior clubs from the very beginning. While the South East division lost to Duhallow in their first game, victory against Newcestown in Round 2B has given them a Round 3 clash with St Finbarr’s this Saturday (Páirc Uí Rinn, 7pm).
Valley Rovers star Canty makes the case that divisional sides get better with more games, so the new format is helpful.
‘There were other years with Carrigdhoun where you lost in April or May and you were gone; you were stopped in your tracks before the season even started.
‘This way, you’re guaranteed two games anyway, most are getting a third and that’s especially helpful to divisions. You look at Duhallow now in hurling and football, it has helped Carrigdhoun as well this year.
‘It’s good to see the divisions being treated equally to clubs.’
For a period, Carrigdhoun didn’t field any team at all, but a concerted effort has seen a revival. ‘The last couple of years, it has been improving,’ Canty says.
‘This year in particular, if you look at the management we have, Brendan O’Sullivan, Michael “Twinny” O’Sullivan, Pat Corcoran, Finbarr Marshall and Pat Desmond, they set out the stall at the start of the year and said that they wanted everyone involved to make a big effort.
‘Players responded to that and clubs responded to that, I think we got nearly all the players out this year whereas other years fellas maybe looked for excuses not to play.
‘There has been a better buy-in all round this year.’
And, as Canty points out, when the club sides’ interest in the championship ends, playing for a division provides a vital outlet.
‘In the last two or three weeks, my own club Valley Rovers were knocked out, Ballinhassig and Tracton were too, so this is a good opportunity for those of us who still want to be hurling.
‘The players are definitely there, it’s just about getting them together. The thing, I would say, about divisions is getting a win or two and then building momentum.
‘The Newcestown game was a real morale-booster, it was a great win, it showed that fellas wanted to be there. There have been a few meetings in between and a few training sessions.
‘It’ll be a tough game against the Barr’s, every one at this stage is difficult, but the rewards are there,’ he says.
‘When so many clubs have been knocked out, it is the last chance for a lot of us to play hurling this year. It should be a great game, it’s something to look forward to.’