Eoghan Deasy hopes Clonakilty can continue their good run of Bon Secours Cork Premier Senior football championship form against St. Finbarr’s on Sunday.
Clon bowed out of last year’s Cork PSFC following a four-point defeat to St Finbarr’s in Coachford. Fast forward 13 months and the West Cork team are preparing to face the same opponents although, this time around, both clubs are already through to the last eight.
Each side defeated Ilen Rovers and Ballincollig in their opening Group C encounters meaning whoever wins Sunday’s clash might have an opportunity to reach a county semi-final. So, there is a lot to play for.
Clonakilty senior captain Eoghan Deasy has already noticed the lift his club has received following those back-to-back victories over West Cork rivals Ilen and, a side they lost to last year, Ballincollig.
‘Clonakilty’s aim has always been to get out of the group so we are treating the Barr’s game like any other really,’ Deasy told The Southern Star.
‘Thanks to two good wins, we have achieved our goal and there has been a good buzz around the place. Last year, losing to Ballincollig in our second group game was a big setback. So, definitely, beating them this year even though it was only by a point was an important.’ St. Finbarr’s are no strangers to this Clonakilty side. Steven Sherlock, Brian Hayes, Adam Lyne and Cillian Myers-Murray played vital roles in the Barrs’ 1-17 to 1-13 PSFC victory last September.
Yet, Clon possess plenty of attacking weapons of their own and will look to the Premier Senior championship’s current top scorer Dara Ó Sé (2-11 in two games) as well as their inter-county players Liam O’Donovan, Mark White, Sean White and David Lowney for inspiration.
‘Look, we know the size of the challenge that lies in front of us especially as St. Finbarr’s are up there with Nemo Rangers and Castlehaven as three of the best teams coming in to this year’s championship.
‘The Barr’s have been up there amongst the best for the last seven or eight years so that is why it would be nice to get a win over them. It is going to be a very tough game no matter what.’
One of the main differences between this and last year’s encounter will be the fact Haulie O’Neill has returned as Clonakilty manager. No stranger to patrolling the Carbery club’s sideline down through the years, O’Neill last guided his home town to county senior success back in 2009. The introduction of a new management team has had a positive effect on Clon’s league and championship fortunes.
‘We enjoyed a good league campaign where everyone was glad to be back playing football,’ Deasy said.
‘Championship is a big step up though but Haulie O’Neill has so much experience. He is very well organised and the players are enjoying things. Neil Deasy, Eoin Ryan and Brian Murphy bring their own ability to the table too and it really is enjoyable to be a part of.
‘Having the Cork lads back training and playing with us has made a massive difference. Every game we go out to play, we try to deliver a performance and let the result take care of itself. It will be no different against the Barrs.’