SKIBBEREEN RFC have set their sights on a top-four finish in next season’s Munster Junior League Division 1 after a strong finish to this campaign.
The West Cork team successfully defended their Cork County Cup crown with a convincing 36-16 win against Cobh Pirates in the final held in Bandon last Sunday.
Skibbereen, who defeated Clonakilty in last year’s final, have now won the Cork County Cup on eight occasions, and manager John Hayes wants to use this latest win as a platform to launch a top-four league bid for the 2016/17 season.
‘It’s been a good season. We finished mid-table in the league, had a good run in the Munster Junior Cup and now we’ve finished with some silverware. We deserved something from the season,’ Hayes told The Southern Star.
‘We can aspire to get into the top four next season and get into the All-Ireland Cup through that.
‘There are a lot of good young players coming through now – there were five 18-year-olds playing in the final last Sunday so we are building for the future. We want to push on in the league next year and compete higher up, while we will look to retain the county cup for a third year in a row.’
He added: ‘The U16s and U18s are getting to A cup and league finals so we’re competing with the best teams out there, teams from senior clubs. It’s great to have that talent and hopefully that will funnel through to the first team.’
Playing against the wind, Skibbereen trailed 6-5 at half-time last Sunday, with Gavin Coombes scoring their try while Eamon Ronan converted two penalties for Cobh.
In the second half, Skibbereen took over with tries from Gavin Coombes, Richie Byrne (2) and Donal Collins, while Denis McCarthy kicked four conversions and a penalty. Cobh’s response came in the shape of late tries from Aaron O’Flynn and Richard O’Sullivan.
‘We were against the wind in the first half and we did the hard work then. We were unlucky to go in behind at the break. The floodgates opened in the second half.
‘Once we got more than one score ahead we were in control and it was a good all-round performance from everyone,’ Hayes said.
Skibbereen: Peter Stout, David Jennings, Steven Cotter, Gavin Coombes, Kevin Coombes, Ivan Jennings, Richie Byrne, Kieran Shannon, Michael Limrick, Matt Walsh, Rory Hone, Eric Donnelly, Denis McCarthy, Donal Collins, Liam Coombes, Declan Coppinger, Vinny White, Niall Hurley, Jack O’Driscoll, Petter Marshall, Lorcan Carey, Ian Hurley.