BY TOM LYONS
THREE of Carbery’s top hurlers are vying for the coveted title of Junior Hurler of the Year, which will be announced at the Carbery GAA Junior All-Stars Awards night at the Westlodge Hotel in Bantry on Friday, November 27th.
On the night, the inaugural 2015 Carbery Junior Hurling All-Star team will be honoured – see page three for the final 15 – while the Junior Hurler of the Year will be selected from the following trio: Denis Murphy (Clonakilty), Conor O’Driscoll (St Oliver Plunkett’s), and Kevin O’Donovan (Diarmuid Ó Mathúna).
Also, the 2015 Carbery Junior Football All-Star team will be announced on the night. The 45 nominees were unveiled last week. The 2015 Junior Footballer of the Year is between Mark Sugrue (Bandon), Martin Collins (Kilmacabea) and Frankie Arundel (Muintir Bhaire).
Here’s a quick look at the three nominees in the running for the 2015 Carbery Junior Hurler of the Year award.
Denis Murphy (Clonakilty): Outstanding dual player with Clonakilty, figuring strongly on the senior football and junior A hurling teams for the past decade, Murphy won a county U16 hurling medal in 2000, as well as minor football and two South West U21 hurling medals.
He came onto the senior football team in 2001, winning a county senior medal in 2009 and also a Kelleher Shield medal.
Murphy has won three South West junior A hurling medals in 2004, 2012 and 2014, and was named as man-of-the-match on many occasions.
He has also played with the Cork senior footballers. An adventurous wing back, noted for his speed, ball control and attacking traits, he rarely fails to score in any game.
Murphy was Clonakilty’s most consistent performer all season in junior hurling as they landed the Flyer Nyhan Cup. His younger brother, Alan, is also named on the Carbery junior hurling team for 2015. See page three for more.
Conor O’Driscoll (St Oliver Plunkett’s): A Plunketts’ hero for more years than he cares to remember in both football and hurling, it is for his exploits on the hurling pitch that O’Driscoll is a household name all over West Cork.
Playing with Plunkett’s since he was seven years old, he won medals at U12, U14 and U16 with an outstanding squad of young players and won three county minor hurling medals.
He added a South West U21 medal in football before capturing the big one, the South West junior A hurling in 2011. Conor has two Munster minor hurling medals with Cork and an U21 Munster as well.
He also won a Sigerson Cup medal with UCC and has starred on the Carbery hurling team for many years.
This season he was outstanding at both wing back and wing forward for Plunkett’s, who were narrowly beaten by champions, Clonakilty in the quarter-final. One of six brothers who all wear the black and white of Plunkett’s.
Kevin O’Donovan (Diarmuid Ó Mathúna): One of a new breed of promising young hurlers coming through in Carbery, Kevin, just out of minor ranks, has been a leading light in the amalgamated Ahán Gaels underage teams and he has won an All-Ireland medal with the Cork U14 hurling team.
He was a member of the Cork development squads from U14 to U17. Last year he captained the Carbery minor hurling team that won the county Premier 2 hurling title for the first time – his immaculate free-taking being instrumental in that final. Also played with CIT Freshers in 2014.
This year he followed on with a South West U21 medal with Mathúnas and was outstanding at corner forward for the junior A team that reached the South West final for the second year in a row. His younger brother, Gearóid, has also been named on the Carbery All-Star junior hurling team for 2015.
• For ticket information for this gala celebration of the Carbery junior championships on November 27th, contact your club secretary.