BANDON’S Mark Sugrue isn’t prepared to rest on his laurels.
The former Cork U21 footballer was crowned the very first Westlodge Hotel Carbery Junior Footballer of the Year at the awards night on Friday – as well as picking up an All-Star award – in recognition of a stunning season for Sugrue, as he spearheaded Bandon’s successful West Cork bid.
The talented forward was his club’s top scorer throughout the divisional championship and he took that form into the county series too as Bandon added the Cork crown (for the first time since 1975) to the West Cork triumph, not to mention promotion to the intermediate grade in 2016.
‘I’m delighted to win the Footballer of the Year award of course, but the main objective at the start of the year was to get into the intermediate. Winning West Cork was a huge step along the way but winning this award has topped off a great season for the team,’ dual ace Sugrue said.
‘These are lovely awards to get and it’s even better that eight Bandon players, including myself, won All-Stars. It’s recognition of the hard work that we all put in and the talent that we have in the team.
‘It’s an historic occasion being the first All-Stars here in West Cork and it’s a great idea because sometimes junior hurlers and footballers don’t get recognised enough around the county.
‘It’s a great honour to win an award like this when you consider all the good footballers here in Carbery. West Cork is the heart of football in Cork so to be honoured like this means a lot.’
While Bandon bowed out of the Munster JFC at the semi-final stage to Templenoe, it doesn’t take the shine off a great season that saw the club reach their target of promotion to the intermediate grade for next season – and Sugrue can’t wait for the new challenge.
‘It’s onwards and upwards from here on, hopefully. If we can keep the team together we’d be confident that we’ll go well.
‘The first year or two is the time to give it a real crack and really go for it again,’ the new Carbery Junior Footballer of the Year said.
‘The best thing that happened to us this year was losing the hurling because we knew then that we had only football left. One of the lads made a speech after the loss to Innishannon saying how important the next game was and that we would always lose the game after we got knocked out of the hurling. The next game was the most important one for us. Once we won that, we knew we’d have a good chance because we’ve great belief in this team.
‘We’d a great season and Leap were the closest team to get to us all year, but once the penalty was scored in the final it set up us for the win. We had been knocking on the door a good bit over the years so it was nice to finally get over the line.’
In the West Cork championship Sugrue scored six frees in the 1-10 to 1-9 win against St Colum’s in round one, scored 0-10 (seven frees) in the 1-17 to 0-8 round three win against Mathunas, struck for 2-7 (six from placed ball) in the quarter-final victory against Gabriel Rangers (2-10 to 0-10), kicked 1-7 (six frees) in the semi-final win (1-15 to 1-6) against Castlehaven before adding 1-6 in the West Cork final triumph against Kilmacabea (1-10 to 0-8).