CORK IT are back in the Sigerson Cup, with West Cork footballers leading the charge.
When CIT defeated Mary I by 2-20 to 0-12 in the Trench Cup final, five West Cork men started, another two came off the bench and there were more on the panel.
Of the 2-20 total, 1-11 can be traced back to the west as Kilmacabea’s Damien Gore kicked eight points (including four frees), Dohenys’ Mark Buckley added three points and his club-mate Eoin Lavers, also CIT vice-captain, scored a first-half goal.
Another Dohenys man, Sean Daly, started at full back, while Carbery Rangers’ Brian Hodnett was wing back. Rory Maguire (Castlehaven) and Mark Hodnett (Carbery Rangers) were brought on as subs, while Sean Fitzgerald (O’Donovan Rossa) and Matthew O’Neill (Kilmacabea) were also on the panel. Brian Herlihy of Dohenys was on the CIT management team.
With so much involvement, it’s no surprise then that a West Cork man kicked one of the Trench Cup final’s deciding scores. Centre back Eoin Lavers broke forward and crashed home a 26th minute goal that helped CIT lead by seven at the break, 1-10 to 0-6. The Cork college rattled off 1-3 unanswered at the end of the half to take control.
‘Eoin attacked the space, it was a great move, he went straight through the middle and finished it very well. It was a big score for us, so close to half time,’ explained Doheny club man Mark Buckley, a third-year Business student at CIT.
A goal from Kerry senior Gavin O’Brien eight minutes into the second half ended the game as CIT were eight clear. Gore and Buckley kept the scoreboard busy as the Cork college pulled away.
‘We were the favourites going into it so that brought its own pressures, but we took nothing for granted. We were on the front foot from the get-go,’ explained Buckley, who acknowledged the importance of this win, as Cork IT made a quick return to the top level of colleges’ football, the Sigerson Cup, after last season’s relegation.
‘Getting relegated last year was very painful. The fellas who were there last year, we felt embarrassed after that, so we made an agreement at the start of the year to give it everything this season,’ Buckley said.
‘You could have the case when you’re not playing Sigerson, that fellas might not give as much commitment, but we drove it on this year, we trained hard twice a week every week and we got the win.
‘A lot of us have played inter-county underage and a lot are playing inter-county senior so it’s a shame that we were down in the Trench Cup because I feel we had as much talent this year as a lot of Sigerson teams.
‘It’s a motto that we have used all year, that we want to pass the jersey on in a better place than when we got it, and I think we’ve done that. We are looking forward to the Sigerson already.’
Cill na Martra’s Daniel Ó Duinnín is another who was to the fore in CIT’s Trench Cup campaign. He racked up 3-4 in the semi-final win against Dundalk IT and chipped in with three points in the final against Mary I.