BY GER McCARTHY
A YOUNG Dohenys team eager to avoid another relegation dogfight will have to overcome St Nick’s in the opening round of this year’s Cork senior football championship.
All the hard work that has gone into improving Dohenys underage set-up is starting to bear fruit. Performances at minor and U21 have been steadily improving, culminating in qualification for last weekend’s Carbery U21A final against O’Donovan Rossa.
The spine of that team includes goalkeeper Stephen Daly, midfielder Cullen Barry and forwards Mark Buckley and Fionn Herlihy.
They, along with other minor and U21 graduates look set to form the backbone of Dohenys senior team in the not too distant future.
Ahead of this weekend’s first round clash against St Nick’s, Dohenys manager Denis Healy is effusive in his praise of the young players that have come into his senior set-up.
‘We are in a position now that we would struggle to field a senior team without those U21 players,’ the Dohenys manager said.
‘Maybe we are asking them to be men before their time. To be fair, they are responding. Every game they play and especially every win they get under their belts is hugely important for them.
‘Trying to stay positive is one of the main things for young players when they come up to senior level so that is why winning games is vital for their development.’
Anyone doubting St Nick’s ability to maintain their senior status need only refer to last year’s opening round of the championship when the city side defeated Kiskeam 3-11 to 1-14. County finalists Duhallow ended Nicks’ interest in the Cork SFC in round 3, a timeframe Dohenys were bouncing back from consecutive losses before defeating the aforementioned Kiskeam after a relegation play-off.
Bottom line, the West Cork club can expect the sternest of examinations from an opponent just as desperate to avoid dropping into the relegation mire.
‘Since last year, we felt, with the right guidance that there was a bunch of young players who could help bring the club on,’ Healy stated.
‘Our club has not been where we would like it to be over the past number of years.
‘It was huge for us to get that championship win over Kiskeam last year. Regularly winning championship matches is something Dohenys has been lacking. We have been involved in most of the relegation fights over the last five years.
‘To win a first round game would be a huge for us. Hopefully, that win over Kiskeam was the first step of something more positive for Dohenys.’
In terms of form, Dohenys league results have been encouraging and the West Cork side is in contention for promotion from Division 3. It is all about championship this weekend however, as Denis Healy hopes to guide a young panel to what would be a morale-boosting victory.
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