MOTIVATION will not be an issue for either Carbery Rangers or Clonakilty when the West Cork clubs meet in the opening round of the Cork SFC for the second year in a row on Sunday.
Castlehaven (4pm throw-in) hosts a repeat of the 2017 derby in which Rangers cantered to a 2-15 to 1-4 victory. Ahead of the new campaign, both teams are under new management and eager to get off to a positive start.
‘We don’t want to dwell on last year, we acknowledge it was a flat performance but we have moved on from that,’ commented the Brewery Town’s Martin Scally.
‘We have a brand new management team under Colm Aherne and it is great to have a fresh, new face in. All you want to do is your best and try and beat whoever is put in front of you in the first round, that’s the most important thing.
‘People say winning is a habit and Colm is well used to that from his time in charge of Bandon the last few years. He knows what it takes to win and has brought that (attitude) to the club.’
Micheál ‘Haulie’ O’Sullivan’s return to the Carbery Rangers as manager for the first time since 2015 is the big headline heading into this weekend’s showdown. O’Sullivan returns looking to improve on last year’s semi-final exit, taking over a squad infused with plenty of burgeoning talent.
‘The majority of the players in the current squad would know Micheál from previous years,’ said Carbery Rangers full-back Brian Shanahan.
‘There is a lot of trust there as he knew how to get us to a county final back in 2014 even though we didn’t get the job done on that occasion (losing to Ballincollig). A lot of our younger players are excited to work with him on the basis of what he did for Carbery Rangers in the past. As a squad, were all very happy to hear that he was coming back.’
Shanahan explained that the team has matured in the past few seasons, helped no doubt by the Cork SFC triumph of 2016.
‘The team has developed that bit of an edge over the past couple of years. Even when games are in the melting pot now, we have that bit of composure to grind out a result,’ Shanahan said.
‘It is very encouraging to see (young) lads coming through and playing so well too. We spoke, as senior players, how we took inspiration from last year’s U16 and minors and the performances they were dishing out. They are young, intelligent footballers so it is safe to say that there is a bit of excitement when they come in training with us because they are driving us on.’
Carbery Rangers versus Clonakilty is always an occasion to savour and this weekend’s championship encounter will be no different. A Rangers team desperate for a return to county glory against a Clon side eager to erase the memory of last year’s poor first round showing should make for a cracking game.