BY KIERAN McCARTHY
GENE O’Driscoll is back at the helm of the Carbery senior football team for the seventh season in a row.
The Tadhg MacCarthaigh clubman has confirmed that he will take charge of the division’s top footballers again this season with the Cork SFC first round local derby against Ilen Rovers his first challenge.
It had appeared at one point that O’Driscoll wouldn’t be in charge this season but he was approached a few weeks ago by the Carbery board to gauge his interest in remaining on.
‘It was ratified by the Carbery board at the last meeting,’ O’Driscoll confirmed, as he revealed his management team for the year ahead, which includes Karl O’Mahony (Bandon), Declan Walsh (Argideen Rangers), Finbarr McCarthy (St James) and Richard Harrington (Bantry Blues). Also part of the set-up are Sinead Lynch (physio), Brian McCarthy (stats) and Sean O’Donovan (kitman).
The Carbery footballers exited the Cork SFC at the round four stage last season, losing to Nemo Rangers (3-11 to 0-8), having beaten O’Donovan Rossa in round one and lost to St Finbarr’s in Round 2A.
O’Driscoll is confident that Carbery have the clubs and the players to make an impression this season, pointing out that Bandon are now a premier intermediate team, as are Bantry Blues, while Gabriel Rangers have joined the intermediate ranks. The Caheragh man also wants to see divisional teams receive a fairer crack of the whip when it comes to fixture congestion; in the past divisional teams have had to play on the same championship weekend as some of the club teams involved are.
‘Outside of the big guns, if we got some fair play and were treated fairly when it comes to fixtures, then we have enough talent to give anyone a game,’ O’Driscoll said.
‘We had a good local derby against Skibbereen last year and it will be a good game against Ilen Rovers this year.
‘Guys in West Cork and guys in all the divisions deserve the chance to play senior football and, to be fair, we have the support of the players, it’s just that the system doesn’t help.’
Carbery will be able to call on the three O’Driscoll brothers, Colm, Kevin and Brian, Alan O’Connor from St Colum’s and Ruairi Deane from Bantry Blues, all five involved with the Cork senior footballers.
Carbery take on Ilen Rovers in round one with the winner here playing the winner of the tie between CIT and Castlehaven in Round 2A, while the loser of Carbery v Ilen plays the loser of Seandún v St Nick’s in Round 2B.
Meanwhile, the Carbery board is moving closer to finalising a senior hurling selection team.
Elsewhere, Tadhg MacCarthaigh’s Brian O’Driscoll was on the UCC team that lost the Sigerson Cup semi-final to St Mary’s last Friday afternoon at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Mayo. O’Driscoll scored three points, including one free, in the 2-7 to 2-6 defeat, and he also set up Ian Maguire for UCC’s opening goal. The Caheragh man had a late chance from a difficult free to level the game but the ball dropped short. Ronan O’Toole, Éire Óg, also started for UCC.