DOHENYS are eager to build on an encouraging 2020 as the Dunmanway club begin their Bon Secours Cork Senior A FC campaign this weekend.
Despite a few niggles, new Dohenys manager Declan O’Dwyer is reporting a clean bill of health ahead of the West Cork club’s Cork SAFC opener against Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh in Kilmichael on Sunday (2pm).
‘Things have been going okay and our preparations have gone well,’ O’Dwyer says
‘We have played a fair few challenge games since the league finished up and we are happy enough with the progress made. Championship is always a different level though and we have been trying to gradually increase things to be ready for that. Everyone should be okay for the Ballingeary game, please God, although there are a few niggles alright here and there.’
The Dunmanway club exited last year’s county championship with a record of two group draws against Bandon and Clyda Rovers and a single loss to Fermoy. The Carbery side’s upcoming opponents fared little better, losing to St Michael’s and O’Donovan Rossa but defeating St Nick’s 1-15 to 1-13.
O’Dwyer understands the physical challenge that his team is about to face but also acknowledges the skill levels Ballingeary teams regularly bring to championship encounters.
‘We expect the Ballingeary game to be a physical one,’ the Dohenys manager said.
‘They are a team I never came across that much when I was playing myself in previous years. Traditionally, Ballingeary have always produced good footballers though. Physicality will be a huge a part of this year’s championship, something we are expecting from them (Ballingeary) and something we have been preparing our lads for.
‘At the end of the day, this is championship and the intensity is going to be different from what we would have experienced during the league. It is all about being ready for that increase in intensity.’
Fellow West Cork rivals O’Donovan Rossa and Bandon are also involved in Dohenys’ difficult opening group. The latter drew 0-12 apiece with Dohenys in last year’s championship before exiting at the quarter-final juncture. O’Donovan Rossa topped their group and went all the way to the semi-finals where eventual champions Éire Óg proved too strong.
Starting with Ballingeary, Dohenys are facing into three of the toughest tests the SAFC grade has to offer. O’Dwyer acknowledges it will be far from easy but has belief in his players.
‘You have to be winning two out of your three games if you are looking to qualify from your group,’ O’Dwyer admitted.
‘It is very important, if possible, to start off with a win. We have not looked at Skibb or Bandon to see what’s coming. Our only focus has and is totally on Ballingeary.’