The O’Donovan Rossa U21 footballers captured the SW U21 B divisional title recently after they defeated Bandon by six points following a high scoring divisional final played in Henry Ford Park, Ballinascarthy. Rossa’s team captain Brian Crowley enjoyed an outstanding season with his team. John Bohane met up with the Rossas’ captain recently as he reflected back on their championship success.
Brian was thrilled to lead his beloved side to divisional glory following an impressive campaign which included victories against Kilbrittain, Owen Gaels and Bandon. The left half forward was delighted with their final triumph against Bandon. “It was a super win against Bandon. Every player worked very hard and put in an honest performance and it was great to get the victory. Bandon were a strong team, they put up a great battle. We had to work hard to win the final.”
Being presented with the trophy represented a very proud moment for both Brian and his family who are stepped in the O’Donovan Rossa GAA Club. It was a fitting reward for the talented half forward who has enjoyed a great underage career with his club. He was delighted to conclude his underage playing career with success in the SW U21 B championship. “I have been playing with O’ Donovan Rossa and this group of lads since I was six-years-old. It was a great honour to captain the side this year. To win the West Cork championship title as captain was sweet. It was a great feeling to lift the cup. To win the championship playing alongside your best friends was a great moment.”
Brian feels the secrets to the success the victorious Rossa U21 team enjoyed this season was down to the strict training programme they participated in alongside the club’s senior team. He feels the talented young players benefited immensely from their training sessions with the senior team. “The most important factor in my opinion is having the opportunity to train as part of a senior set up. The training sessions are challenging and intense. They undoubtedly bring on players both physically and mentally and make us better players. There is also a great sense of unity in the panel. This team have been playing together for a long number of years and we have a strong bond, both on and off the pitch”
The O’Donovan Rossa U21 footballers were guided this season by Shane Crowley Snr, Greg Hegarty and Diarmuid Lucey. Brian was delighted with their coaching input. “They each played a big role in our success. They have a wealth of experience from both playing and coaching themselves, which helped us immensely throughout the campaign. We also have great support from the senior management which is greatly appreciated.”
The Rossas competed in the U21 A grade last season, but opted to participate in the B championship this year. Their decision reaped instant dividends as they captured championship glory. Brian had great confidence that the Rossas would enjoy a strong championship campaign. “Having come close to Clonakilty last year in the first round of the A championship, we did believe that we could have a good crack at the championship this season. We were also boosted by the inclusion of a strong contingent of last year’s successful minor team. They were a great help to us. They added greatly to our strength-in-depth.”
Brian, who is himself enjoying a very strong campaign this year, is very confident a plethora of the successful U21 footballers will enjoy productive seasons with the Rossas senior and junior team respectively. “This success encourages the younger players hugely. It is always great to establish a winning mentality in the club. Our coaches have great faith in us and give great encouragement which is greatly appreciated. Hopefully the players will keep progressing and developing.”
The O’Donovan Rossa senior footballers enjoyed a first round championship win against Aghada. The recent success of the U21 footballers has further embellished the current feel-good factor so prevalent within the club. Brian is confident the club has a bright future ahead. “There is a great buzz around the club at the moment fed by the success of the junior and senior teams to date this season. There are very good footballers coming through the ranks that are hoping for the opportunity to continue this success. As always we get great support from our sponsors, families and community. The future is bright.”