Caheragh man agrees to take charge of Carbery senior footballers for 2016 season
BY KIERAN McCARTHY
GENE O’Driscoll has started to plot the downfall of the club he won an All-Ireland football title with.
As confirmed by The Southern Star online last Thursday evening, Gene O’Driscoll has been reappointed as Carbery senior football manager for the forthcoming season.
The Tadhg MacCarthaigh clubman was approached early last week by the Carbery Board to gauge whether he would be interested in taking the job again, and he has agreed to come back on board as manager.
While admitting the short timeframe between now and Carbery’s Cork SFC opener on April 30th is far from ideal, O’Driscoll has turned his attention towards defeating his former club, O’Donovan Rossa, in the first round of the 2016 championship.
O’Driscoll, in fact, played with the Skibbereen club for a spell and he helped them win Cork, Munster and All-Ireland senior club honours for the first and only time in the early 1990s.
‘It’s a great West Cork derby and it’s just the game you want to start the championship with,’ said O’Driscoll, who will be on the opposing sideline to Skibb as a senior manager for the first time.
‘We will be playing one of the top sides in the county, a team that got to the championship semi-finals last year and that won the Kelleher Shield.’
The Cork U21 coach has been tied up with inter-county commitments of late, but when approached by the Carbery board, he couldn’t say no to a job that he had stepped back from last year after the colleges/divisional section exit to UCC.
For several seasons, O’Driscoll had spoken out that divisional and college teams weren’t treated the same as clubs.
Late last year, the Cork SFC was revamped and now divisional and college teams will start the first round alongside club teams, with a backdoor available.
‘The divisions are now being treated the same as the clubs, which is very important. It’s the same rules for everyone in the competition. That wasn’t the way before. It’s a county championship, not a club championship,’ the Caheragh man stated.
‘John Corcoran put a lot of work into Carbery for so many years. I didn’t want to see that going to waste for the lack of someone coming back in to help out. I’d great time for John and what he did for Carbery football – and we need to keep this going like he would want us to.
‘I always feel as well that fellas who play in Carbery, in intermediate and junior clubs, have the right to play in the senior championship. It’s important to give them that platform to show the rest of the county.’
O’Driscoll will now finalise his management team and set about bringing a Carbery panel together.
‘When we finished up last year nobody was retiring, so we’ll see who is available and when, and we’ll try and get a game or two in then. The timeframe is tight. It’s not ideal, far from it. You’d plan it better if you could, but we can only work with what we have,’ he said.
‘I am tied up with the Cork U21s so it doesn’t allow us much time, but at least all the players are already training and playing with their clubs and various Cork teams.
‘It will be hard to get them together but that has been the dynamic that we have been working with for a long time now so we will work away as best we can.’