Bright hurling future ahead for Clon players

Posted on: 5th October, 2017

Category: Sport & Fitness

Contributor: John Bohane

Clonakilty won the Flyer Nyhan Cup for the 16th time in their history on a final scoreline of 2-21 to 1-16. Denis Murphy who played a prominent role throughout their championship campaign had the proud honour of lifting the cup following their well deserved win. “We were absolutely delighted with the win and the first half performance in particular which set the foundation for the win. It was a super win,” declared the proud captain.

Ballinascarthy produced a gallant second half display, which ensured Clonakilty had to play to their full potential to secure championship glory. Denis was lavish in his praise for their neighbours. They really upped their game in the second half and got a bit of a run on us. They played some serious hurling in that period and managed to get five points on the trot. We were grateful for a fine double save from our full back Pa and goalkeeper Mark White who prevented them getting a goal which could have made it a very nervous finish. Thankfully, we managed to make a few positional switches which settled us a bit more for the final quarter and ensured we held out for victory.”

The pitch in Timoleague was resplendent for such a grand occasion and the huge crowd present also contributed to a great evening which will live long in the captain’s memory. “There was a large crowd there and both clubs were well represented which added to the occasion. I suppose a local derby was always going to attract a large vocal crowd. Our own supporters have been great all year. U10 camogie and hurling players from both clubs also played at half-time which I thought was a great idea from the Carbery Board. It really made it feel like more of a whole club involvement. It was a super evening.”

Denis, who was appointed the vice-captain of the Clonakilty junior A hurling team at the start of the season, was thrilled on a personal level to lift the Flyer Nyhan Cup. “It was a great honour. I suppose I didn’t envisage it at the start of the year, as I am vice captain of the team. Our captain Dave O’Regan unfortunately couldn’t line out. We wanted to do it for him more than anything else as he’s been a real leader for us down through the years. So certainly, it was special moment to accept on his behalf as well as the team.”

Both the SW junior A finalists were guaranteed a berth in the county stages of the junior championship. Denis revealed that this was their absolute target at the start of the season. “Our first target really was to make the final due to the new format that allows both finalists an entry into the county phase. I suppose, when we reached the final we targeted a more sustained performance than previous outings as we knew we wouldn’t be far away if we could perform to our potential. It was great to play well and win the final.”

Cork senior football ace Thomas Clancy played an integral role in the Clonakilty hurling success. The powerful player produced a man of the match performance in the final. Denis is lavish in his praise for the ace player. “He produced an absolutely outstanding performance. Thomas has been a great influence in the camp since he returned from injury. His last point in particular in the final was a real gem. He played a key role all season for us.”

Denis paid tribute to their support structure, which was established by the club committee, which has ensured hurling at present is very strong in Clonakilty. “We had 39 players in our squad which is the most I can recall ever playing adult grade hurling in Clonakilty. With numbers like that there certainly is healthy competition for places which keeps everybody on their toes. I think our club committee headed up by our chairman Ger McCarthy made good decisions early in  the season by putting a hurling committee in place to appoint a strong management team. They responded by putting a management team manager James O’Donovan, selectors Adrian White, Keith Kennedy and Tony Anglin in place who know the game inside out, have played hurling up until recent times and have the respect of all the players. Our coach Sean Twomey in particular has been fantastic. He played an important role in Newcestown’s recent hurling success and he has brought a real freshness and professionalism to our preparation this year.”

Clonakilty, who last won the SW junior A hurling championship title in 2015, appear well poised to enjoy a sustained and successful era in hurling. Their underage structures are very strong at present, which they hope will ensure the foundations are in place for a strong future. “Our underage structure is fantastic. The amount of players, both girls’ and boys’ playing camogie and hurling in Clon is unbelievable. The work the coaches are doing is exceptional and they have played just as much an important role as anybody else in this West Cork win.”

Denis is very confident Clonakilty possess a very bright hurling future. “I think it is a very healthy state at present. There were nine players that played in the West Cork final that are currently under 21 which is quite remarkable. As a club, we’ve never managed to make a mark at county level in adult grade hurling in our history which is something we want to rectify. The record of recent Carbery junior hurling winning teams at county level makes for grim reading so it would be nice to represent the division with great distinction. Our target is to keep improving and see where it takes us.”

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