Drinagh co-managers not taking Bantry for granted
By Ger McCarthy
DRINAGH Rangers co-managers Don Hurley and Declan Deasy face a tough task in settling on a starting line-up ahead of this weekend’s West Cork League Beamish Cup final.
This year’s cup decider being played at Turner’s Cross makes it extra special for a club steeped in West Cork League history. Sunday’s showdown with Bantry Bay will be equally exciting for Rangers’ co-managers Hurley and Deasy, loyal club stalwarts for more years than they care to remember.
Yet selecting which players get to tog out at Cork City’s home ground is proving as difficult as quelling the growing anticipation around the Canon Crowley Park clubhouse.
‘It is a big thing for Drinagh Rangers to get the opportunity to go to Turner’s Cross and has generated a lot of excitement in the build-up to the big day,’ Hurley admitted.
‘The fact we have had a long run-in since winning our semi-final six weeks ago has only added to the anticipation for ourselves, the players and our supporters. There is a great buzz around the place and training has gone well, so this is one season that is definitely not petering out!’
Rangers co-manager Declan Deasy added: ‘Regular games in the build-up to any final mean an awful lot as it keeps the players sharp and on their toes before the big day itself.
‘Were you a couple of weeks without a game then it would be very difficult to settle in the early stages of a cup final, especially at Turner’s Cross.
‘From our point of view, picking a starting 11 is going to be extremely hard considering how well the lads have been performing. We have had a run of injuries just lately but thankfully, other fellas have put their hand up for selection so we have a lot of things to consider.
‘Playing a cup final in Turner’s Cross doesn’t come around all that often so there is going to be that extra bit of edge to it but we are ready and looking forward to the challenge.’
Hurley and Deasy have seen enough of Bantry Bay Rovers to know a full-strength squad means the Kealkil club has every chance of causing an upset despite their underdog status.
‘I saw some of Bay Rovers’ relegation play-off defeat to Ballydehob and thought they were a bit unlucky to be honest,’ Hurley said.
‘They have plenty of pace going forward, a very good goalkeeper and haven’t conceded that many goals when fielding their strongest team Dunmanway Town lost only one domestic game during their entire season and that was in the cup to Bay.
‘We had a tough game against them at the start of the season and will not be taking them for granted. I think we are favourites because of our experienced squad and having played in more finals than Rovers. Hopefully, that will stand to us on the day.
‘We are hoping for a big turnout from our supporters too who have always been there for us whenever we have reached a final. It should make for a great occasion.’