THESE are good times for Argideen Rangers’ hurlers.
With one game to spare, they are already guaranteed to qualify from Group B of the Cork Premier JHC. They have beaten both Dripsey and Ballygarvan so far, with a final game against table-toppers Ballygiblin to come.
New manager Paul Holland has had a huge role to play in this run of form, according to Bill Fleming.
‘When he took over at the start of the year, most people said “Paul Holland, he’s managing in football, is it?”,’ Fleming told the Star Sport Podcast.
‘We were kind of thinking to ourselves, he has a really good record in football, he’s managed Valley Rovers and he’s been involved in Cork minor football teams and I’m sure he had a whole host of offers available to him.
‘It instilled a bit of confidence into the squad that Paul was so willing to take on the challenge. It wasn’t one where we were kicking down the door in any championships recently. He brought in Mikey Walsh and Declan Crowley with him, two Timoleague stalwarts. The management has been super,’ Fleming explained.
What has been pleasing about this campaign for Rangers is the younger players Holland has believed in.
‘The team we had out the last day, against Dripsey, about 10 of the 15 are under the age of 25,’ Fleming said.
‘We’re asking a lot of fellas like Sean Walsh, Fergal Walsh and Sean Henchion, lads only in their second season. They’re 18 or 19 years of age. They step up and play a vital role. Paul sees the guys coming through being a good team in a couple of years’ time. I’m not sure about this year but it’s great that Paul saw something in us.’
With two wins from two, Rangers are going well in this year’s county championship. First they beat Ballygarvan by 0-19 to 2-11, and then defeated Dripsey by 2-20 to 1-14.
‘Luckily, we’re qualified going into the last game which is a big weight off our shoulders. We knew the Ballygarvan game was going to be huge to start things off. We had Dripsey then, which was important to build on it again. Two wins from two, can’t ask for any more than that,’ said Fleming.
‘We lost to Ballygarvan last year in tight fashion in the quarter-final. We know how good Dripsey are, we played them most years. Of course, Ballygiblin winning the junior A county and got to the All-Ireland final. Getting out of the group was definitely the aim.’
Ballygiblin will be a massive test for the West Cork side on Friday, August 26th. The upside for Argideen is that the pressure is off.
‘It’s a massive weight off our shoulders. We get to go into the Ballygiblin game with a free shot,’ Fleming said.
‘If you did win the game, you have the possibility of getting a bye into a semi-final. Even after the game, we’ll have a better idea of how we fare against one of the benchmark teams in the grade.’