Keane and O’Brien are both injury worries for SFC opener
BY DENIS HURLEY
IT seems strange, to be preparing for the championship in the second weekend in April, but that is the situation that Newcestown find themselves in, with Douglas their opponents in Brinny on Sunday (3pm).
The Carbery club drew the short straw of the SFC preliminary round, and with times and dates only finalised in early March, things have been a bit hectic. Injuries to key attackers Carthach Keane and Martin O’Brien are a blow, and beyond that the lack of games, and then lack of available players when games are played, have made things difficult, according to Newcestown captain Eoin Kelly.
‘It is a bit rushed,’ he says.
‘We’ve played two football challenge games in the last week because we had only played three games up until a couple of weeks ago, but even challenge games aren’t worth much, it’s good to get a few games in.
‘We’ve had back luck with the weather, the Éire Óg game was pulled, Bishopstown pulled out of a game, we should really have five league games played.
‘We haven’t put a full team on the pitch yet, Sunday will be the first time. If we had had an extra week to prepare, we’d be a lot happier going in, but that’s the hand we’ve been dealt.
‘Douglas are probably in the same boat, they definitely haven’t had a full team.’
Ballyhea – solely a hurling club – lie in wait in the first round of the SHC, but the fact that Sunday’s game is a preliminary-round tie means that victory would send Newcestown into a first-round clash with Clyda Rovers in a fortnight. That, in turn, could have a knock-on impact in getting ready for the hurling, far from ideal in that the club must win an SHC game to avoid relegation.
Managing Newcestown’s footballers this year is former Cork football Aidan Dorgan. The club has gone for outsiders in terms of the Grenagh native and new hurling manager Mickey ‘Da’ Fitzgerald from Carrigtwohill, but there haven’t been any problems in terms of balancing hurling and football commitments.
‘[Previous manager] Tom Wilson was there five years, which is a serious commitment when you’re not getting on the field,’ he says. ‘Aidan has come in and he’s quite good, keeping it simple. I think it’s trickier for them than it is for us.
‘We can’t train every day, obviously, so they have to get their head around it, “We’re parking football for a couple of weeks”, or parking the hurling. They’re coming from places where their own code dominates, but there haven’t been any problems.
‘You can’t be burning the two sets of players both ways, the balance is perfect.’