BY GER McCARTHY
WEST Cork League manager Richie Collins believes there was plenty to admire in his side’s performance away to the defending Oscar Traynor Trophy champions in Ennis.
On paper, a 6-2 defeat away to the two-time Oscar Traynor Trophy champions doesn’t appear that bad a result. Whilst disappointed not being able to field his strongest line-up, Richie Collins couldn’t have asked more of the West Cork League players that made the trip to Ennis to represent their region.
‘In terms of putting in a performance against the defending champions, I thought or lads did really well,’ Collins commented to The Southern Star.
‘I can’t fault any one of our players for effort but what people have to remember is that Clare have been together for four years while this was the first time a lot of our fellas played together as a team. That’s what you are up against at this level and you could see why Clare have won the Oscar Traynor for the past two years, insisting we play them on a bank holiday Saturday afternoon with a team that’s used to playing with one another.’
The game itself saw an experienced Clare outfit capitalise on their whirlwind start, scoring three times without reply – but West Cork’s refusal to throw in the towel and score two fines goals of their own pleased the visiting manager.
‘I think the final score flattered them a little bit,’ said Collins.
‘I’d admit they started at one hundred miles an hour and we found ourselves 3-0 down before we got going after 15 minutes. Then Johnny (Kelly) got a great counter-attacking goal but we missed a couple of half-chances just before half time.
‘Clare caught us on the counter-attack for a fourth but I thought we were on top during the second half before they scored again after a mix-up at the back. Sean Crowley netted a brilliant goal after rounding two defenders. Their goalkeeper made a few good saves, we emptied the bench to give everyone a run and then they scored with the last kick of the game.’
Looking to the immediate future, Collins and his backroom team have already begun preparations for their next Oscar Traynor Trophy outing at home to either Kerry or Limerick. That encounter represents last chance saloon for both squads but is a game West Cork will be ready for.
‘Instead of multiple training sessions, we have decided to try and organise friendlies against established city clubs like Douglas Hall or Carrigaline,’ the West Cork League manager noted.
‘That’s how we want to prepare for it. Looking back, we got off to a bad start against Clare but battled for the entire 90 minutes and got at them on a few occasions. For the team we had out, we did really well.
‘You only have to look at how seriously the Clare League takes the Oscar Traynor Trophy to see how far behind we currently are. A few more friendlies under the belt will help us better prepare for either Kerry or Limerick.’