THERE’S history waiting to be made in Skibbereen Community School – that’s the challenge for the new school’s footballers as they set out in the Munster colleges’ senior A football championship (Corn Uí Mhuirí) for the first time.
The new Skibb school kicked off life in this season’s competition with a Group D loss against St Flannan’s of Ennis on Wednesday. Two Kerry schools help make up the four-team group, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne and Pobalscoil Sliabh Luachra Rathmore.
Skibbereen Community School is an amalgamation of three schools in the town – St Fachtna’s, Rossa College and Mercy Heights – and it began a new chapter in the Corn Uí Mhuirí this week.
St Fachtna’s had won three Corn Uí Mhuirís, the last in 1991, but now Skibbereen Community School will look to create its own history, starting this season.
While O’Donovan Rossa’s Dylan Hourihane is overage, Skibbereen CS can still call on 2016 Cork minor Sean Minihane (Ilen Rovers), Ryan Foley (Castlehaven), Sean Fitzgerald, Rory Byrne, Dylan O’Donovan and Elliot Connolly (O’Donovan Rossa), and Matthew Bushe and Peter O’Driscoll (Ilen).
Skibbereen CS are coached by James McCarthy, Maurice Moore and Colman O’Driscoll, and the latter commented: ‘Rossa College had a lot of very good young footballers and they’re a huge boost to the younger teams in the school, and it will take a year or two for them to come up to the senior team but there’s no doubting that there’s a lot of talent on the way up. There’s been a big jump in numbers all the way down to first year and the senior team will benefit from that in time.’
Remaining games: Round 2 v PS Chorca Dhuibhne on November 9th, Round 3 v PS Sliabh Luachra on November 23rd.
To paraphrase a Conor McGregor quote, Hamilton High School isn’t in the Corn Uí Mhuirí to take part, it’s here to take over.
The addition of the Bandon school swells the local interest in the Munster competition, but the Hammies have serious intentions to make a mark in the Corn Uí Mhuirí, according to Declan Hayes, of Carbery Rangers fame, who trains the team alongside Rob Honohan (Bishopstown).
‘We won the Munster U16 and a half last year (beating Rathmore 1-14 to 0-9 in the final), which was B, and we won it handy enough, we beat most teams fairly comfortable so I think we’ll be well able for the Corn Uí Mhuirí. We won a Cork county U14 A last year, too,’ Hayes pointed out.
‘This year we have only four or five up to the age, next year we’ll be stronger again, and there’s more coming after that. We aren’t in the Corn Uí Mhuirí to see how it goes, we’re up here to stay.’
The Hammies, better known for their Harty Cup exploits over the past few seasons, are ready to juggle senior football and hurling teams, and already in the Simcox this season their results are impressive – wins against Carrigaline CS (5-15 to 0-10) and Clonakilty CC (4-7 to 0-14) see them approach the Corn Uí Mhuirí in confidence.
Cork minor Cathal Maguire (Castlehaven), Fergal Lyons (Valley Rovers) and Fionn Herlihy (Sam Maguires) are important players for the Hammies, who will be without the injured Cullan Barry (Sam Maguires) until Christmas, while the multi-talented Charlie Lyons (Valley Rovers) is heading across the water to Preston North End on a two-year deal after mid-term.
Joining Hamilton High in Group C are reigning Munster and All-Ireland champions, St Brendan’s College, Killarney, who have the prodigious minor David Clifford in their ranks, IS Killorglin and Wednesday’s opponents, DLS Macroom.
Remaining games: Round 2 v IS Killorglin on November 9th, Round 3 v St Brendan’s College on November 23rd.
The Corn Uí Mhuirí is the ideal platform for talented young footballers to put their hands up for inter-county selection, says Clonakilty Community College manager Michéal O’Sullivan.
Clonakilty CC have made their presence felt since they made the step-up to the Corn Uí Mhuirí three years ago, qualifying for the semi-final of the 2014/15 campaign while they were knocked out in the quarter-final stage last year.
There has been a big turnover in players from last season, with 12 of the starting team now gone, but former Carbery Rangers senior manager O’Sullivan is excited about the potential of the latest crop.
‘It would have been very easy for us to drop down to B football but you don’t have the same standard as football there and you wouldn’t improve as much. This is a fantastic competition, it’s the platform for young fellas if they want to graduate towards development squads and the Cork minor panel because, I think, this is the next step of competitive football below inter-county football at minor level,’ O’Sullivan said.
From last season, gone is Cork dual minor David Lowney, former Cork minor goalkeeper Mark White, Ross Mannix, Sean Ryan, Dylan Scannell and more, and in their place is a younger group with several eligible for the next two years.
Sean O’Donoghue (Clonakilty) and David McCarthy (Ballinascarthy) are expected to feature prominently, while youngsters like Padraic Cullinane (Ballinascarthy) and Brian White (Clonakilty), younger brother to Sean and Mark, are two who could make their mark.
‘We should be competitive this year, we’re still learning about ourselves so we have to wait and see,’ O’Sullivan said.
This season Clonakilty are in Group B alongside Mercy Mounthawk Tralee, Coláiste Chríost Rí and Clonmel Highschool.
Remaining games: Round 2 v Clonmel HS on November 9th, Round 3 v Mercy Mounthawk on November 23rd.