BY KIERAN McCARTHY
HE’S facing his former club this Saturday evening but that won’t faze Carbery Rangers manager Ronan McCarthy in the slightest, according to selector Robbie Aherne.
An interesting side story to this Round 2A tie in Dunmanway, 7.30pm, sees former Cork senior selector and current Ross boss McCarthy come face to face with his own club, Douglas, who he managed to the 2008 Cork SFC final.
But McCarthy’s links to Douglas will have absolutely no bearing on Saturday’s championship clash, insists Aherne.
‘When he got the job Ronan always knew that meeting Douglas was a possibility, but he’s treating it like another game. This is a championship match; it’s about the players on the pitch, not the managers or selectors,’ the Ross selector said, before praising McCarthy’s input since he took over the reigns from Haulie O’Sullivan, who stepped aside after last year’s championship.
‘Ronan has seen plenty of us over the last few years, he knows what we are about and he has brought in his own ideas. Haulie and Johnny Murphy did a fantastic job, and now it’s Ronan’s turn to help the club go forward and improve.’
Carbery Rangers were pushed all the way in their round one win against Valley Rovers, needing extra time before emerging 1-17 to 2-13 winners, and that was an ideal early-season gut-check says Aherne.
‘That was the best game we could have got. We would have liked to have won the game in normal time but extra time didn’t do us any harm at all,’ he said.
Kevin MacMahon is back for Carbery Rangers, having missed the Valleys game through suspension, and Thomas O’Rourke should also be available, but Declan Hayes and Gearoid O’Brien continue to remain side-lined through injury.
Carbery Rangers sit third in Division 1 of the county football league with six wins and a draw from eight games, while Douglas, who beat Dohenys in round one, are struggling at the other end, with only three points after nine games – but Aherne says that won’t count for anything this Saturday.
‘This is the championship and anything can happen. Douglas are a good team, we know that, so we need to be at our best and approach this game like every other game we play – to win,’ he said.
In Rangers’ ranks on Saturday evening will be Tipperary inter-county defender Robbie Aherne who played his part in the Premier County’s shock Munster SFC semi-final win against Cork last Sunday in Thurles. Kiely’s Ross teammate, Cork forward John O’Rourke, experienced rather different emotions last Sunday – but Aherne feels both, for different reasons, will be out to prove a point against Douglas.
‘In fairness to Robbie, he’s quiet anyway, he’s a laid back guy so he won’t be loud in training this week!’ Aherne quipped.
‘He played well last Sunday, he’ll be high on confidence after that win and hopefully he can bring that into the game on Sunday. On the other hand John (O’Rourke) might feel that he has something to prove after last weekend.’