BY KIERAN McCARTHY
WHATEVER way you look at it, this is going to be a big year for Cork football at all levels, and Beara could have its part to play in the season ahead.
Already, two Castletownbere men have featured for Cork in the McGrath Cup – Andrew O’Sullivan and Lorcan Harrington – and here we look at five Beara footballers who could grab the headlines this season.
Andrew O’Sullivan (Castletownbere): O’Sullivan has returned to the Cork colours for a third time, so is it a case of third time lucky for the Beara man?
O’Sullivan captained the Cork U21 team that won the 2007 U21 All-Ireland and is also a former Cork minor. He was involved with the senior panel in 2008 and ‘09 before stepping back in early 2010. O’Sullivan, who turns 30 this year, was back on board for 2013 and 2014, and he made his championship debut as a sub against Limerick in 2013, but he wasn’t involved last season.
Back in again for the McGrath Cup win against Waterford last week, the Castletown midfielder has been a rock for his club and divisional team for years. He can play in the half-back line or half-forward line, as well as midfield, and that flexibility could help him force his way into Peadar Healy’s thinking for the year ahead.
Still, it’s a big year for O’Sullivan who has been in and around the Cork panel for several seasons without really establishing himself.
Lorcan Harrington (Castletownbere): One of several new players being handed a chance with the Cork seniors, Harrington started the McGrath Cup win against Limerick in the full back line and came on as a sub against Waterford, for James Loughrey. He has been a key figure for his Beara club for years, and was on the team that won the 2012 IFC. Previously, Harrington was on the CIT panel that reached the Sigerson Cup final.
Conor Lowney (Urhan): Lowney has come up through the Cork development panels, and has Munster and Humphrey Kelleher titles at U15 and U16 to his name. Now starting his fourth season as a senior with Urhan and Beara, he has already made his presence felt for club and division, and has emerged as a key player. Lowney was a star man for Urhan as they won the 2015 Beara JAFC.
He can play either in midfield or as a scoring forward, and is tall with great hands and a fine leap. Not only that, but Lowney is creative, with an eye for goal or for points.
In his second year with his college, Tralee IT, Lowney lines out in midfield or further forward, and expect to hear a lot more of him in the future.
David Harrington (Adrigole): The former Cork minor, U21 and junior footballer won a Sigerson Cup with UCC in 2014 and also played in the 2015 final that the Cork college lost to DCU.
In fact, the talented forward became the first-ever Adrigole GAA clubman – and only the third Beara footballer – to win a Sigerson Cup medal when UCC defeated UUJ in the colleges’ decider in Belfast in 2014.
Paul O’Neill (Garnish): Another talented forward from Beara, O’Neill has made a big impact with his club, Beara, in the divisional championship, kicking the winning point in the 2013 final against Urhan. He scored 11 points in his first adult game, and has quickly emerged as one of the top forwards in Beara, so keep an eye out for his name this season.
Also, Sean Terry O’Sullivan, a former Cork minor, is another to watch for 2016, as is the talented Gary Murphy (Castletownbere), a former Cork minor, who really emerged as a force last year and has big potential – remember his name.