DANIEL Goulding feels Éire Óg will have nothing to lose when they line up in the 2021 Cork Premier SFC later this summer.
The Mid Cork club will take their place in Group B alongside three West Cork heavyweights – Castlehaven, Carbery Rangers and Newcestown – after they recently won the 2020 Cork SAFC title.
Having won the Cork PIFC crown in 2019 and backed that up with the county SAFC title, Éire Óg’s confidence is sky high right now and they’ll be dangerous opposition for all three West Cork teams.
‘They are all going to bring their own challenges for different reasons, but it will be great to play the Haven in the championship just because they are the Haven,’ Éire Óg captain Goulding told the Star Sport Podcast.
‘They are a small rural club who has done amazing things. It will be great to play them. They’re at the business end nearly every year.
‘Then there’s Ross as well because I’ll get to play against John Hayes in the championship. We have played Newcestown in the league the last few years and we have had great battles with them as well so we know none of these games are going to be easy.’
2010 All-Ireland winner Goulding (34) can’t wait to play at Premier senior level. Along with defender Dermot O’Herlihy, this duo has been involved in Éire Óg’s rise from the junior ranks to the highest level in Cork club football. They won the county junior title in 2008, the intermediate crown followed in 2014, and then came the recent two triumphs, as Goulding and Co reached the summit.
‘It’s going to be great. When you go from playing the first round of the Mid Cork championship to playing Castlehaven, Ross and Newcestown, that’s what dreams are made of,’ he said.
‘It’s a great challenge again and there will be a great buzz playing those games. We have nothing to lose either and the success of the last two years takes all the pressure off.’
Goulding can’t wait to mix it with the established powers of Cork club football and this is a reward for the club and all the people who have played their part in Éire Óg’s football rise.
‘What people wouldn’t realise when you see where we are now is that when I started you played championship on the Saturday and your first training would have been on the Thursday because back then we were more hurling focused,’ star forward Goulding explained.
‘It’s taken a huge amount of work from an awful lot of people. We won a minor in 2002 and that’s how it all started; the focus on football came from there.
‘John O’Shea would have put in huge work and he was involved in the first two counties. Tom Scally, Jimmy Corkery, Huge O’Connor, they all put in crazy work though the years. Even now all the work that goes on at our underage level – you can’t get into the place on Saturday morning because it’s so busy. It’s incredible how the club has transformed over the years.
‘It’s nice for all of them and for all the people who have put in a lot of work, like our chairman Pat Malone. It’s nice to get a reward and put the club in the spotlight for a bit.’
Éire Óg will carry a threat to the West Cork clubs in the Cork Premier SFC, and their athleticism and dynamism will cause the opposition plenty of problems.
‘I couldn’t get over the athleticism of the team, the middle eight especially, against Mallow in the county final,’ Goulding explained. ‘The likes of the two Coopers (John and Joe), Jack Murphy, Ronan O’Toole, Colm O’Callaghan before he got injured, Kevin Hallissey when he came on, all those fellas were just starved for worked and running, creating overlaps, tracking back, chasing hard, they worked tirelessly for the hour. At every water break John Cooper could barely talk.’