BY BARRY O’MAHONY
THEY say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
That certainly is the case for the winner of the Auld Triangle and Muskerry Sports Star award for May.
Cloughduv talisman Mark Verling suffered two serious injuries over the past few years, and when it could have been easy for the 24-year-old to down tools, he has come back stronger.
He is now captain of the Cloughduv hurling team for the 2018 season and will lead his team into battle in the months ahead in pursuit of Muskerry and county glory.
The primary school teacher was delighted to have picked up the award for the month of May.
‘It’s a privilege. I wasn’t expecting it at all, but whenever you receive an individual award you will always take it,’ he said.
‘To be honest with you, I wouldn’t have won this award if it wasn’t for the team mates. In my eyes, I am accepting it on the behalf of the team as well.’
May was a busy month in Muskerry, but after Verling scored 1-10, with only 1-3 coming from frees in the opening round of the JAHC, he was the stand-out winner.
‘I got the call about the award about two weeks ago. At first, I didn’t know what it was about, I had a bad line too, which didn’t help matters. I just said repeat that again, and sure I was delighted. It’s a fantastic achievement for myself, family, friends and Cloughduv,’ he said.
Cloughduv have reached the quarter-final stage yet again in Muskerry, with the reigning champions hot favourites to regain the crown come September.
‘We don’t look too far down the line, otherwise complacency might creep into your game. We were training last week and we just said, “lads we’ll drive on now and focus on the quarter-final”.’
After losing three county finals in nine years, Verling and Cloughduv are hoping they can go a long way in the Muskerry championship and beyond.
‘After winning Muskerry titles over the past few years, It has been heart-breaking and very frustrating in the county championship. Maybe on a number of occasions we didn’t play as well as we could and when you don’t do that, you spend your time looking back what might have been,’ Verling said.
Verling is hoping his period of captaincy will be one to remember.
‘I am privileged to be captain of Cloughduv, but I am only one leader on the pitch, we have many more,’ he said.
‘We have a nice blend between experience and youth, this year, and hopefully that blend can prove effective in the weeks and months ahead.
‘After suffering two injuries in recent years, when I thought there was no light at the long dark tunnel, it would be incredible if I could lead this team to glory.’