BY GER McCARTHY
RYAN Price hopes an influx of U21 talent can inspire O’Donovan Rossa to victory in their Cork senior football championship preliminary round clash with Carrigaline.
The 28-year-old goalkeeper is one of the more experienced members of Martin Bohane’s senior panel heading into the 2019 championship with the club buoyed by last weekend’s win in the Carbery U21A football final.
With the seniors and U21s training together and a number of those u21s on the senior team, that success has come at the right time.
‘It is kind of funny in that it is almost like a full cycle how our current U21 players remind me of our U2’s that managed to win the county back in 2011,’ Price said.
‘Now you realise, even though I’m only 28, that you are amongst the panel’s more experienced players. One of the lads was saying last week that the average age of our team is 23. Despite myself, Donal Óg Hodnett and a few others only hitting 28, leadership has been entrusted on to us now.
‘It is great though, it doesn’t really change how you act or play out on the pitch. It is a case of just helping any of the younger lads as best you can with the experience you have gained. The U21s are a really good group and they are driving us older fellas on as much as we are influencing them but that’s a good thing.’
Saturday evening’s preliminary round meeting with Carrigaline offers an O’Donovan Rossa an opportunity to eradicate the memory of last year’s third round hammering at the hands of Nemo Rangers. On the plus side, that defeat followed an encouraging first round defeat of Aghada. Carrigaline’s campaign consisted of losses to county champions St Finbarr’s and Douglas either side of a one-point win over Ilen Rovers.
The fact it is a preliminary round tie has no affect on Price and O’Donovan Rossa’s respect for their opponents.
‘Initially, we were humming and hawing a bit when we heard we were going to be involved in a preliminary round tie,’ Rossa’s goalkeeper admitted.
‘You have got to take it for what it is. If you win, then it is great as it is an extra game before going into the next round. We are under no illusions that Carrigaline are going to be tough opponents. We have struggled ourselves big time in the last number of seasons whereas they were winning a county title around that same time.
‘Carrigaline have probably gotten more experience of playing in big championship games than we have in the last few years so there is absolutely now complacency on our part or underestimating our opponents.
‘We are in for a really tough battle and could have the possibility of a relegation play-off hanging over our heads, depending on the result. For us, this is like a county final. We are going gung-ho to win it and are fully focussed on Saturday.’
The clocks have gone forward and the longer evenings have finally arrived which can only mean one thing – the lawn mowers are out. A wealth of knowledge is on hand at Bandon Co-Op’s three stores in Bandon, Enniskeane and Kinsale thanks to each of their in-store experts who are there to share their vast experience