Above: Darren Crowley, Bandon hurling captain
Carbery Rangers bring home Senior County title
Carbery Rangers captured the senior football county championship for the first time in their history following their thrilling three point win achieved against Ballincollig in Pairc Ui Rinn on Sunday, October 9.
Ace half back Paudie Hodnett played a key role in their county success. He was thrilled to play his part in their historic triumph. “There was a huge effort put in by everyone involved with the club over the last number of years and it was sweet to finally get our hands on the county title. It was a massive achievement for us to win the Andy Scannell Cup. We have a very dedicated group of players who drove it on all year. It is a great boost for the whole club and community so we were absolutely delighted,” said the star defender.
Carbery Rangers produced an inspired second half display, which propelled them to a deserved victory on a final scoreline of 1-15 to 1-12. Cork senior football star John O’Rourke played a key role in their win, as he kicked five points from play. Paudie is lavish in his praise for all his teammates who contributed to their maiden county win. “We knew we’d have to be at our best to beat a very good Ballincollig side and I think everyone put in a huge shift. Johno was unmarkable at times and he showed his class with his five points from play. Every player stepped up on the day and won their individual battles, which was vital in our victory. Jerry O’Riordan also put in a massive performance. It was a great team display.”
The pivotal moment of the game occurred midway through the second half when Chris O’Donovan netted the lone Carbery Rangers goal. It was a vital moment in the contest according to Paudie. “It was a vital moment, the first goal in a big game like that is always going to be massive and no better man than Chris to get it. They’ll be talking about that goal for a long time in the Abbey Bar! He has been playing brilliantly all year for us, his fitness and speed is frightening at times. We have been delighted with his performances all year and long may it continue.”
Carbery Rangers were led to victory by their talismanic captain James Fitzpatrick who produced another inspired display against Ballincollig. His leadership skills and aerial ability have proved instrumental in their quest for success this season according to Paudie. “He has been a great leader all year, he’s a massive player for us and someone who we all look up to. He has been dominating midfield all year, which has put us on the front foot in a lot of games, so his leadership qualities is undoubted. He is a mighty leader for us and he has been inspirational throughout the season.”
The Carbery Rangers senior football squad and their management team were afforded a rapturous reception upon their arrival home in Rosscarbery that fateful Sunday night with the Andy Scannell Cup. Massive crowds lined the picturesque streets to welcome their heroes home. It was a moment and sight Paudie will never forget. “It was a very proud moment, walking the Andy Scannell Cup up through the square in Rosscarbery was a special moment and you could see what it meant to the people of Ross. It was a very proud moment and something we, as players, will remember for a long time.”
Double victory for Bandon
Bandon premier intermediate hurlers captured the county championship title recently following an impressive six point win achieved against Fermoy at Pairc Ui Rinn.
Their influential captain, Darren Crowley, played a key role in the victory. The ace forward produced a virtuoso performance, which propelled the Lillywhites to a brilliant victory. Darren was thrilled with the nature of their win on that fateful day as he recalled. “It was a great win, all the team played very well on the day, it was very important to win for the continued progression of our club.
“It was definitely a very proud moment for me to lead the side out into action and then to lift the cup after the win. We have a lot of leaders and experienced players on our panel. It was a privilege to captain this team. We have had some success over the years but this was on a different level.”
Bandon were supported in their bid for county final success by a massive and vociferous support who travelled to Pairc Ui Rinn on the day. The players and management team were also met by huge crowds upon their arrival back into Bandon later that evening, as massive crowds gathered to acclaim their heroes. Darren was thrilled by the turnout. “The support all year has been excellent for both the hurling and the football. It is great to see the town draped in the Bandon colours. It was a very proud day for the club. The win was for all those who have been and still are associated with our great club.”
Bandon now advance to a Munster championship tie against the Waterford champions. Darren is hopeful of a sustained run in the Munster championship series. “We are really looking forward to the Munster club campaign. We are due to play against the Waterford winners. We are still awaiting the outcome of that final. We will prepare well for it and hopefully we can go on a strong run.”
Victory in the premier intermediate hurling championship has enabled the Lillywhites secure senior hurling status for the first time in four decades. Darren and his colleagues cannot wait to begin life in the senior club championship next season.
“We can’t wait for the first round draw to see who we get. It is a very exciting time for the club. I think we are well capable of doing well in the top grade, providing we can kick on from our performance in the county final and bring our game up another level.”
Bandon also enjoyed a very successful season in the intermediate football championship with a plethora of players competing successfully in both codes, as the club secured a dream double. Darren paid tribute to both management teams for their dedication and cooperation, which paved the way for success in both codes. “The players were very well managed all season. We enjoyed a great season in both hurling and football. The management teams on both sides have been doing a fantastic job keeping the players fresh for the matches that came thick and fast. They deserve a lot of credit for our success.”
Bandon secured promotion to the premier intermediate football grade for next season following their triumph achieved against Rockchapel earlier this month at Paric Ui Rinn.
Long serving goalkeeper and captain Pat Prendergast played a key role in their successful season. The Lillywhites recovered from an initial slow start to emerge victorious by three points on a full-time scoreline of 1-10 to 1-7.
Pat always maintained confidence that his colleagues would secure the county title. “It was a great win in fairness. I wasn’t too worried at any stage to be honest…we have been in tight games before and come out on top and we have shown great character all year. They had thrown everything at us and we were within three points at half time. I knew if we could get ahead we would be difficult to claw back.”
Bandon’s football success came only a week after their hurlers clinched the premier intermediate county championship after they defeated Fermoy. Did they find it hard to get motivated for a second county final in under a week? “Not as hard as you’d think. We enjoyed Sunday night following the hurling win, but everyone was in Inchydoney on the Monday night for a recovery session. Everyone sensed we were close to doing something unique so we wanted to give ourselves the best possible chance. That’s the great thing about this group, lads are willing to make the hard sacrifices for the betterment of the group.”
Bandon’s county success in both codes capped off a truly memorable season for the club and for Pat, a dual star, who has given great service to the club over many years. It was truly a memorable season according to the long serving custodian. “These seasons just don’t happen. To win county titles in two of the toughest competitions in one season in Cork is amazing. Our club hasn’t done it since 1929 and not too many others have done it either. To win 11 championship games in a row with the last five games coming on a weekly basis is something special for the club and ourselves.”
Bandon surpassed all expectaions with their superb run in their first season operating at the intermediate football grade. Bandon also overcame a heavy first round defeat against Cill na Martra. Pat however always retained belief they would do well in the intermediate grade. “I had a feeling we would be competitive but then we got brought back down to earth in the first round by Cill Na Martra. We were just a bit green going into that game. But lads were hurt after how we were beaten and I could see we were going to learn for the next day. We were able to drive it on and put in some great performances from then on.”
Bandon had a plethora of dual stars helping the football and hurling sides to county title success. Pat is lavish in his praise for the respective club management teams whose organisation and communication skills ensured the year proved so successful. “It’s been a breath of fresh air. The two sets of selectors met on a regular basis and had it all worked out so players weren’t been pulled and dragged. We didn’t have to be up in the pitch five or six nights a week, but management knew everyone was fresh and ready to go when we did train. Being a dual club can be difficult, but when the cooperation between the two codes is like it was this year, it shows it can be done and great years can happen.”
Bandon now progress into the Munster championship in both football and hurling. Pat cannot wait to lead his side into Munster championship action. “We are going into the unknown really. All I can say is we will be as ready as we can be and hopefully give a good account of ourselves. If that’s good enough we will see.”
Bandon next year will be plying their trade in the senior hurling championship and the premier intermediate football grade; Pat is eagerly anticipating the forthcoming championships draws and the start of next season. “To be honest, I can’t wait. The senior hurling league is highly competitive so you have to be switched on for every game, but the big clubs coming to Bandon will be exciting. We were also promoted in the football league so again the quality of games will go up. That’s why we keep playing to get the best out of ourselves. It will of course be very challenging but we will be ready to go. It will also be massive for the town. So many people have said to us it gave the place a lift and that’s nice, as we are all very proud of being from Bandon.”
Junior County triumph for Gabriel Rangers
Gabriel Rangers captured an historic county Junior A football championship title for the first time in their history recently following their six point win achieved against Shamrocks at Pairc Ui Rinn.
Star corner forward Mark Cronin played a key role in their stunning success, which was achieved on a final scoreline of 2-13 to 2-7. The talismanic team captain was thrilled with their success. “It was a great win. Every player on the whole panel contributed to this success. It has been a great season. Our management team has been brilliant also. We have worked very well together. It is a great feeling to lead Gabriel Rangers to county glory. All the lads played very well on the day and we produced a very impressive perfomance in the second half. We are looking forward to playing in the intermediate grade next season.”
Mark was thrilled and honoured on being appointed captain of his beloved Gabriel Rangers junior team at the start of the season. “It was a very proud moment to captain Gabriel to victory. It is a great privilege to captain this club. We have plenty of leaders in this panel however, which made my job easier. When I look around the dressing room, I see players like Pat Nolan, Kieran O’Callaghan, Liam Hegarty, Darren O’Mahony, Donal O’Sullivan and Stephen O’Mahony. These guys are real leaders. The young lads on the panel have been great also. They have been travelling down together from Cork every Tuesday night and have given serious commitment this year. It has been a memorable year.”
Gabriel Rangers were guided to divisional and county glory this season by Castlehaven native Mike O’Brien. Mark was lavish in his praise for their coach. “Mike O’Brien has been a great appointment. He came in last March and has done tremendous work with the team. You would think he has been involved with the club for the past decade going by the passion he has displayed with us. He has got the best out of us. Mike and his fellow selectors have worked very well together and have built a very strong squad. We are looking forward to working with him again next year in the intermediate championship.”
Mark also paid tribute to the Gabriel Rangers supporters who supported them in massive numbers all season long. Their return home to Ballydehob and Schull following their county final triumph was an emotional night according to their ace forward. “The Gabriel Rangers supporters have been exceptional all season. All year long they have followed us in big numbers. They have played a big role in our success. They are the reason we have dug deep to win so many tight games. Coming home with the county title and being greeted by our supporters is a feeling we will never forget. It was a proud moment bringing the cup home. I was delighted we could repay them for all their support.”