BY KIERAN McCARTHY
CARBERY Rangers’ newest acquisition can’t wait to test himself in the Cork county senior football championship this season.
Last year’s defeated county finalists have pulled off a major coup by adding Tipperary senior inter-county defender Robbie Kiely to their ranks for the campaign ahead.
Several other Cork clubs were interested in snapping up the 24-year-old, who lives in Courtmacsherry with his family. They run The Golden Pheasant Cafe in Courtmac, and Robbie works there most weekends.
The Arravale Rovers clubman, whose transfer to Ross was rubberstamped last week, admits that the regular long trips from West Cork to Tipperary and back for inter-county training isn’t sustainable long term.
‘My family moved down to West Cork five years ago and I’ve been travelling up and down to Tipp for club matches for those five years and it’s just beginning to take its toll,’ Kiely told The Southern Star.
‘The Tipp season last year went on so long and I had no time to recover for the inter-county season, and it’s straight back into it this year. Something had to give.
‘Carbery Rangers were the first team to approach me, around three years ago, they were eager and I like what I heard about the club.’
2010 Munster U21 football winner Kiely – a student at NUI Galway – was also able to bounce his thoughts off Tipperary senior football manager Peter Creedon, a former Carbery Rangers player and coach, who filled him in on the lie of the land in Rosscarbery.
‘Carbery Rangers were onto me before I even went to Peter about this,’ said the Tipp senior, who was red carded in the Division 3 football league opener against Armagh last weekend.
‘I only started talking to Peter recently about the club, seeing what it was like and what he had to say, to see would it be a good move for me. He told me about the club, what it’s like in Rosscarbery, about the few county players on the team, the U21s coming up.’
Kiely knows he is joining a club that is amongst the frontrunners for the big prizes in Cork club football.
‘It’s a new challenge and I can’t wait for that,’ Kiely said.
‘The standard of football in Cork might be higher than in Tipp football because more teams in Cork concentrate solely on football than in Tipp. The first game in Cork would be as competitive as a final in Tipp. I’m not saying there’s a poor standard in Tipperary but with the amount of quality teams in Cork the standard in football would be higher as a result.’
But any thoughts that Carbery Rangers’ latest inter-county player might also throw his lot in with the Rebel seniors have been quickly quashed.
‘At the moment I am full on with Tipperary and I am very happy. There’s great potential in this team. Last year we ran Cork really close and we should have put them to the sword. Tipperary is who I want to play with on the inter-county stage so anything else is not an option,’ he stated.