BY GER McCARTHY
WINNING the West Cork Sports Team of the Year Award was a fitting accolade for a Drinagh Rangers club that claimed five trophies last year.
Players and supporters of the West Cork League club turned out in force for last weekend’s annual sports star awards at the Celtic Ross Hotel having dominated the local soccer scene over the previous 12 months.
Drinagh solidified their status as the most dominant team in the region by claiming the Premier Division League, Premier Division Cup, Beamish Cup, Micheal Cronin Cup and Maybury Coaches-Hotel Cup in 2018.
‘It was especially satisfying as a West Cork League club to attend such an important event surrounded by so many talented sports people,’ commented Drinagh co-manager Don Hurley.
‘There were Olympic medallists and athletes like Phil Healy present and there we were, a rural soccer club, getting an award alongside such prestigious company. It was a fantastic night and we really appreciated getting the award.
‘The Southern Star, C103 and the Celtic Ross Hotel deserve huge credit for their ongoing efforts in supporting this event.
‘The award is also an affirmation of what we (Drinagh) do and everyone; players, managers, coaches and supporters are absolutely delighted to have won the Team of the Year award.’
Rangers’ co-manager Declan Deasy echoed Hurley’s sentiments and paid tribute to the work carried out behind the scenes by Drinagh’s coaches and volunteers.
‘It is vital for any club, no matter what sport, to have an underage structure. Otherwise you won’t survive,’ Deasy commented.
‘You have to talented players coming through all the time because no-one goes on forever.
‘We are lucky to have such a dedicated squad that have given everything over the last ten years and won five trophies last season. You need a proper youth system to help supplement that success though and a proper structure to keep our underage teams going.
‘Thankfully, we are very lucky in Drinagh to have people willing to give up their free time and keep the club moving forward.’
Barry O’Driscoll (H) was captain and top scorer for Rangers during their memorable campaign.
The Drinagh striker received the Celtic Ross West Cork Sports Star of the Month Award last May but paid tribute to the entire squad for their remarkable achievements.
‘It was just a fantastic season for all of us and it may take a few years before we realise how much of an achievement it was,’ O’Driscoll said.
‘It is incredibly difficult to win one West Cork League trophy let alone five so it took a huge effort from the entire squad. We gained a bit of momentum after the bad weather in February and March and there was no stopping us then. We entered every game thinking we had a chance of winning and it ended up being one of the club’s greatest ever years.’
Despite their phenomenal 2018 successes, Drinagh remain in the hunt for honours once again this season and few would bet against the Canon Crowley Park club lifting silverware in the coming months.
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