BY JOHN MURPHY
SUNDAY’s RCM Tarmacadam Carbery JAHC final between Kilbree and St Colum’s will be a novel affair, with neither side having lifted the famed ‘Flyer Nyhan’ Cup before.
Kilbree will be acutely aware that, having already rewritten the history books by qualifying for the decider, it is a glorious opportunity to create further hurling immortality for the club.
Manager Timmy O’Brien will be emphasising to his players the importance of what is at stake as they relish mixing it with the hurling elite. In 1984, O’Brien experienced success at Cork county B level back in 1984 when Kilbree defeated Kilshannig – they actually had a hurling/football championship double that year. However, with the club were forced to wait a further 32 years To really make their indelible mark in the upper echelons of hurling society.
By a remarkable quirk of fate, the captain against Kilshannig, Christy Daly, was the club’s honorary secretary in 1984 and happens to be the current holder of that position. Perhaps a lucky omen for the Blues?
‘Getting to our first A hurling final is a huge monkey off our backs,’ O’Brien says.
‘We have a 50/50 chance now at least. We had a few players disappointed when they did not start against Dohenys in the semi-final, but we have a big panel and when they came on they proved a point.
‘We have a very strong selection available this year, it is a good complaint, picking the team is a hard task, but a nice one to have.’
O’Brien feels that the current crop is reaping the benefits of success at underage level, as many are products of that chain.
‘We had a great bunch coming through at underage level in the last few years,’ he says, ‘and Ger Manley has made a huge difference since coming on board and he has instilled self-belief as well as confidence and hurling finesse into the squad.
‘If I was told we would make the final, let alone having an opportunity to win it at the start of the year, I certainly would not believe it.
‘We have only won one championship game each year in recent times, so this marks a major improvement.
‘We took each game as it happened this year and thankfully to date things are working out. We asked the lads for 110 percent in all our matches and they will have to give that if we are to lower the colours of a formidable Colum’s side, experienced championship campaigners who will be extremely hard to beat.’
O’Brien’s co-selectors are Seán O’Brien, Seán O’Donovan and Colm Young, who bring a wealth of experience on board and will provide astute sideline guidance.