BY DENIS HURLEY
AT half-time in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford last Saturday, it must have seemed that Cork’s All-Ireland SFC qualifier campaign was to come to an end.
While Peadar Healy’s side did eventually get over their hosts’ challenge to reach Round 4B, regardless of that outcome there would have been some Cork interest in the last 12, thanks to Bantry native Kevin Harrington.
Employed as a mechanical engineer at Moneypoint Power Station near Kilrush, the three-time All-Ireland medal-winner (U21 in 2007, junior in 2011 and ’13) transferred to St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield this year. Soon enough, he found that he had come onto the radar of Banner manager Colm Collins too, though he had to wait before he could actually tog out.
With Clare having beaten Laois and then Sligo – the first game Harrington was included in the panel – they face Roscommon in Pearse Stadium, Salthill this Saturday (3pm) and he is enjoying the experience.
‘Colm got on to me at the end of January, start of February,’ Harrington says, ‘just after the transfer had gone through.
‘It was a huge honour but I was a bit apprehensive, conscious that I hadn’t played a minute of club football. He was persuasive though, he emphasised that the focus was on footballing skills rather than flogging lads by running around.’
He couldn’t don the saffron and blue immediately, though.
‘Clare had actually played Sligo in the first league game and the next was against Limerick and I was gearing up for that,’ Harrington explains.
‘But then we learned that I had to play in the club championship to eligible for Clare, like the Seanie Johnston situation when he joined Kildare but we didn’t go down that route! I was training with them all along but it wasn’t until Doora-Barefield played championship three or four weeks ago that I could actually play for Clare.’
Next year, Clare will play Cork in Division 2 but a meeting in this year’s championship was unlikely, even though Harrington admits that he did consider what might have happened had the Banner beaten Kerry in the Munster semi-final.
Instead, Roscommon provide their biggest test to date, though they could be there for the taking, having lost heavily to Galway in the Connacht final replay.
‘It’s the third week in a row playing for both teams,’ he says, ‘but we’re coming off the back off two wins whereas they have a draw and a loss, so it’s a different mental place.
‘It’s bonus territory for us but lads are confident, if we can go out and put in a good display then who knows what could happen?’