BY KIERAN McCARTHY
EARLY-MORNING training sessions have become the norm for Skibbereen Community School ahead of this season’s Corn Uí Mhuirí campaign.
Every Wednesday morning before school, at 7.30am, the senior footballers are put through the paces in a training session – and the response has been fantastic, explains Colman O’Driscoll, who is part of a three-man management team that also includes Cork minor football selector James McCarthy and Carbery Rangers joint-manager Maurice Moore.
‘We had 35 training last Wednesday morning at 7.30am. That’s great commitment from the lads when you think that they’re leaving home before seven in the morning for a training session,’ O’Driscoll said.
‘When you have lads in Leaving Cert, fellas getting grinds, fellas working and all the other commitments they have, having an early morning session gets everyone together without any distractions.’
Skibbereen CS are in the three-team Group D in this year’s Corn Uí Mhuirí, along with Hamilton High School Bandon and Tralee CBS, and they take on the latter in the group opener next Wednesday, October 18th.
The top two will progress to the knock-out stages after Christmas.
‘It’s an obvious statement but when it’s a three-team group, every win is crucial,’ O’Driscoll said.
‘The first game against Tralee will be crucial – win that and we’ll be in a good place.’
After that Skibbereen meet the Hammies on November 8th, with the Hammies and Tralee CBS then playing on November 22nd.
There’s been a big turnover in personnel from last season when Skibbereen finished third in Group D, missing out on the quarter-finals.
A large number of the school’s Munster U16 and a half winning team from last season, and from the team that beat Hammies in the Cork Colleges’ U16A football final, are involved in the school’s senior team, as well as a number of local players on various Cork development squads.
Ilen Rovers’ Peter O’Driscoll was a Cork minor this year while Michael McCarthy and Paddy Burke (both Tadhg MacCarthaigh), Sean Bohane, Alex Minihane and Gavin Foley (Castlehaven) and O’Donovan Rossa brothers Elliot and Luke Connolly are all involved in Cork development squads.
Ilen Rovers’ Matthew Bushe, Dylan O’Donovan and Jamie Shanahan (O’Donovan Rossa) and Liam Browne and Kevin O’Donovan (Castlehaven) are others that will feature for the Skibb school who will miss the injured trio of Cork U17 Jack Collins (Ilen Rovers), Sam Burchill (Castlehaven) and Sean Walsh (Castlehaven), who all would have started.
In the Simcox Cup quarter-final last week Skibbereen drew with Coláiste Choilm Ballincollig, 1-15 to 2-12, in their quarter-final, with the west Cork school battling back from four points down.
Meanwhile, Clonakilty Community College begin their Group B campaign against DLS Macroom next Wednesday, October 18th. Coláiste Chríost Rí and Coláiste Choilm are also in this group.