Sport

Drinagh intent on bucking trend

September 5th, 2015 6:11 PM

By Southern Star Team

Ace marksman: Lethal Drinagh Rangers striker Barry O'Driscoll beats Skibbereen goalkeeper Ryan Price to complete his hat-trick in his side's 6-1 win back in March - a victory that clinched the West Cork League Premier Division title for Drinagh.

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BY KIERAN McCARTHY

DEFENDING West Cork League (WCL) Premier Division champions Drinagh Rangers have been set a challenge – become the first team in 11 years to successfully defend this title.

It’s an indication of just how competitive the WCL Premier Division is that no team since, ironically, Drinagh in the 2004/05 season have managed to successfully defend their league crown, but that’s the target that co-managers Don Hurley and Declan Deasy have set their team.

That 2004/05 league success completed the three in a row for Drinagh Rangers – edging out Crossmahon twice as well as Bunratty United on another occasion – but since then no team has been able to put back-to-back titles together.

‘It’s very hard to retain your title in the West Cork League,’ Drinagh co-manager Don Hurley told The Southern Star.

‘Drinagh were the last team to do it and that was back in 2005 so our main incentive is to defend our title. It’s going to be very difficult because I think the Premier Division is stronger this season than it was last year.’

Ahead of the big kick-off this Sunday, and with Drinagh entertaining 2013/14 champions Skibbereen, it looks like the big four will be battling it out for the league title – Drinagh, Skibbereen, Dunmanway Town and Clonakilty AFC.

But Hurley has identified newly-promoted Bunratty United as the potential surprise packet in this year’s Premier Division.

‘Having Bunratty back in the top division makes it stronger straightaway and Leeside are also a very good team so it’s going to be a tougher league for everyone,’ Hurley said.

‘We played Bunratty near the end of last season down in Schull in the Parkway Cup semi-final and they beat us. They could be the surprise packets this season. They always have good technical players in Schull and they know how to play the game – they could be the team to watch.’

Statement of intent

However, this Sunday it’s Skibbereen that is uppermost in Hurley’s thoughts as the champions of the past two seasons collide in the opening game of this year’s campaign.

Being a home game against one of their title rivals, this is an early chance for 11-time WCL Premier Division champions Drinagh to issue a statement of intent.

‘Last year we lost our first game, away to Clonakilty – it was the only game that we lost – but it meant that we were behind for a long time in the league. It’s really important not to lose, especially at home, and to get a good start but that will be challenging as Skibbereen are very good,’ Hurley said.

‘In the last three years we’ve won two leagues and they’ve won the other one. They’ve a good team, a good set-up, it’s a good club and our games are usually tight.’

There haven’t been many ins and outs in the Drinagh set-up apart from the addition of Don O’Driscoll who didn’t play last season.

Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Gearoid White spearhead the attack again and both have been in fine form in the early stages of the Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches Cup, with O’Driscoll scoring nine teams in their first two games while White was on the mark five times – a 9 – 1 win against Dunmanway Town B and a 9 – 0 rout of Aultagh Celtic.

O’Driscoll was the league’s top scorer last season with 13 goals in 14 games while White and new team captain Keith Jagoe weighed in with seven goals apiece for a team that had the second best scoring return (42 goals in 16 games).

At the other end the Drinagh defence was the best in the division, conceding just 17 in the league, with Barry O’Driscoll (T) and JJ Collins rock solid.

Drinagh will be the team to beat, but Skibbereen, Clonakilty AFC and Dunmanway Town will all do their best to make sure that the Canon Crowley Park club become the latest reigning champion to suffer the fate that has befell the last ten WCL Premier Division kingpins. Let the games begin.

• The last team Drinagh Rangers and Skibbereen met in the WCL Premier Division was back in March this year at Canon Crowley Park when Drinagh won 6 – 1 to clinch the league title. Barry O’Driscoll (H) scored a hat-trick that day, while Tomás Connolly, Keith Jagoe and Derek Crowley also scored for the winners.

BY KIERAN McCARTHY

DEFENDING West Cork League (WCL) Premier Division champions Drinagh Rangers have been set a challenge – become the first team in 11 years to successfully defend this title.

It’s an indication of just how competitive the WCL Premier Division is that no team since, ironically, Drinagh in the 2004/05 season have managed to successfully defend their league crown, but that’s the target that co-managers Don Hurley and Declan Deasy have set their team.

That 2004/05 league success completed the three in a row for Drinagh Rangers – edging out Crossmahon twice as well as Bunratty United on another occasion – but since then no team has been able to put back-to-back titles together.

‘It’s very hard to retain your title in the West Cork League,’ Drinagh co-manager Don Hurley told The Southern Star.

‘Drinagh were the last team to do it and that was back in 2005 so our main incentive is to defend our title. It’s going to be very difficult because I think the Premier Division is stronger this season than it was last year.’

Ahead of the big kick-off this Sunday, and with Drinagh entertaining 2013/14 champions Skibbereen, it looks like the big four will be battling it out for the league title – Drinagh, Skibbereen, Dunmanway Town and Clonakilty AFC.

But Hurley has identified newly-promoted Bunratty United as the potential surprise packet in this year’s Premier Division.

‘Having Bunratty back in the top division makes it stronger straightaway and Leeside are also a very good team so it’s going to be a tougher league for everyone,’ Hurley said.

‘We played Bunratty near the end of last season down in Schull in the Parkway Cup semi-final and they beat us. They could be the surprise packets this season. They always have good technical players in Schull and they know how to play the game – they could be the team to watch.’

Statement of intent

However, this Sunday it’s Skibbereen that is uppermost in Hurley’s thoughts as the champions of the past two seasons collide in the opening game of this year’s campaign.

Being a home game against one of their title rivals, this is an early chance for 11-time WCL Premier Division champions Drinagh to issue a statement of intent.

‘Last year we lost our first game, away to Clonakilty – it was the only game that we lost – but it meant that we were behind for a long time in the league. It’s really important not to lose, especially at home, and to get a good start but that will be challenging as Skibbereen are very good,’ Hurley said.

‘In the last three years we’ve won two leagues and they’ve won the other one. They’ve a good team, a good set-up, it’s a good club and our games are usually tight.’

There haven’t been many ins and outs in the Drinagh set-up apart from the addition of Don O’Driscoll who didn’t play last season.

Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Gearoid White spearhead the attack again and both have been in fine form in the early stages of the Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches Cup, with O’Driscoll scoring nine teams in their first two games while White was on the mark five times – a 9 – 1 win against Dunmanway Town B and a 9 – 0 rout of Aultagh Celtic.

O’Driscoll was the league’s top scorer last season with 13 goals in 14 games while White and new team captain Keith Jagoe weighed in with seven goals apiece for a team that had the second best scoring return (42 goals in 16 games).

At the other end the Drinagh defence was the best in the division, conceding just 17 in the league, with Barry O’Driscoll (T) and JJ Collins rock solid.

Drinagh will be the team to beat, but Skibbereen, Clonakilty AFC and Dunmanway Town will all do their best to make sure that the Canon Crowley Park club become the latest reigning champion to suffer the fate that has befell the last ten WCL Premier Division kingpins. Let the games begin.

• The last team Drinagh Rangers and Skibbereen met in the WCL Premier Division was back in March this year at Canon Crowley Park when Drinagh won 6 – 1 to clinch the league title. Barry O’Driscoll (H) scored a hat-trick that day, while Tomás Connolly, Keith Jagoe and Derek Crowley also scored for the winners.

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