KILBREE captain Darragh Coakley has laid down a challenge to his teammates: let’s retain the Flyer Nyhan Cup in 2017.
Kilbree made headlines in September when the club won the South West junior A hurling title for the very first time in their first ever JAHC final appearance, and they liked it so much they’re keen to hold onto their crown next season – but Coakley admits they face a big task to fend off the challengers to their throne.
‘It’s a very hard cup to retain it but we want to improve and there is room for improvement,’ Coakley said, after he picked up a Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star of the Month award for September, in recognition of Kilbree’s historic hurling achievement.
‘We now know that we will be the team that others will want to beat, everyone wants to beat the champions, so we have to be ready for that, too.
‘All we can do is work on who we draw in the first round next year and we’ll take it one game at a time. We won’t look too far ahead. You see teams that look too far down the line can slip up and we don’t want to make that mistake.’
On a personal level Coakley had a huge influence on Kilbree’s success this season, man-of-the-match in the semi-final win over Dohenys and the final against St Colum’s, and he credits the turnaround in the team’s fortunes to the input of trainer Ger Manley, a former Cork, Inniscarra and Midleton star.
‘It was a massive achievement for the club, winning the South West for the first time. I’m delighted for my teammates, the management and everyone involved in the club,’ Coakley said.
‘We underachieved the last few years to be honest, we should have done better than we did. We brought in an outside trainer, Ger Manley, and he really brought us on. He brought a new voice, he had new ideas and he has a lot of experience so that was a massive help.
‘There was a new intensity to the team as well this season – everything came together.’