BY GER McCARTHY
NOTHING but a win will do for the West Cork League representative side when they welcome the Kerry District League in the FAI Oscar Traynor Trophy this Sunday (2pm, venue to be confirmed).
Having drawn away 0-0 against the Limerick Desmond League and then gone down 2-1 at home to Limerick District, the WCL face a tough task in taking on current group leaders Kerry.
Manager Richie Collins, assistant manager Mike Doolan and goalkeeping coach Rob Oldham have overseen a positive campaign, though – despite the results, encouraging back-to-back performances, standout individual displays and the blooding of some emerging talent has seen West Cork re-establish itself at junior inter-league level.
On Sunday, the Kingdom are looking to finish top of Group C and progress to the knockout stages so the qualification scenario for both teams is straightforward.
‘It is winner take all on Sunday, it is as simple as that really,’ commented WCL manager Richie Collins.
‘Nothing but a win will do for West Cork and a Kerry victory ensures they finish top of the group. It is last-chance saloon for us as we have picked up a point from our two opening games and the lads know that we need a victory to stay in the competition.
‘Everyone in the squad knows what is expected of them and will be going all out to upset the form book and trying to beat a quality Kerry team. We are under no illusions at the size of the task facing us but I know each and every one of our players will give their all.’
Superb displays in their opening Oscar Traynor games against Limerick opponents means Kerry can expect a stern test this weekend. Yet, since the start of the season, re-establishing the WCL at junior inter-league level has superseded the importance of individual results.
‘This year has been all about re-establishing West Cork at Oscar Traynor Cup level,’ admitted Collins.
‘Our first two games were huge tests but we got a superb draw away from home and deserved better than the 2-1 defeat at home to Limerick District.
‘I and the other coaches have been immensely proud of our performances and we head into Sunday’s game with a small bit of confidence knowing that we can now compete at this level. We have a few injury concerns but I’m certain whatever West Cork team lines out will give everything they have.’
Sunday’s showdown with Kerry is one of the most important games West Cork has played in the last ten years. Collins and his backroom team has succeeded in laying the foundations for future Oscar Traynor Cup campaign and that is hugely important irrespective of Sunday’s result.
‘I believe we have the character and talent within the squad to get a positive result on Sunday,’ Collins said.
‘Facing Kerry will no doubt be our toughest test for many years but nothing seems to faze this West Cork squad and they have nothing to lose at this stage. ‘Our destiny is in our hands, we are playing at home and we are going to give Kerry a hell of a game!’