Kilmacabea Junior A footballers capture Mick McCarthy Cup for the second time

Posted on: 8th October, 2018

Category: Sports Life – Interviews

Contributor: John Bohane

The Kilmacabea Junior A footballers recently captured their second successive Carbery divisional championship title after they defeated Tadhg MacCarthaigh by five points following a replayed final encounter played in Drimoleague. This represented the second time in their history they had captured the Mick McCarthy Cup. Kilmacabea were captained this year by talented defender Niall Hayes who inspired his team-mates to championship glory with a series of impressive defensive performance. John Bohane catches up with the victorious captain, who is still basking in their divisional success.

Kilmacabea reigned supreme once again this year in the Carbery Junior A football championship after they emerged victorious on a final scoreline of 0-15 to 0-10 against local rivals Tadhg MacCartahigh. Kilmacabea have displayed remarkable levels of consistency in recent seasons. They have contested the final of the South West junior A football final on three occasions over the last four years, winning two titles. Niall is thrilled with their latest victory. “It is a great achievement to win the championship two years in-a-row. It is a tough competition to win at the best of times as there are so many strong teams striving for success, but to win it two years in a row really means a lot to us. It has also had a great impact on the parish as well as a whole.”

Kilmacabea had to display great character and determination to win the Mick McCarthy this season. They trailed by four points with ten minutes remaining in the first encounter against Tadhg MacCarthaigh, while they finished very strongly in the closing stages of the second match to finally see off a gallant Caheragh challenge. Niall was delighted with the character his colleagues displayed over both games. “They were very tough games on both occasions. They play a style of football which is hard to play against, but our quality and squad depth came through in the end. Our management team will tell you the great difficulty they have had all year trying to pick our team which is a great problem to have. In every game we use 20/21 players which shows the strength of the squad this year. It was one of the key reasons in our success this year.”

Niall who is only 23-years-old had the great honour and privilege of captaining the Kilmacabea team to championship glory this year. The defensive ace was delighted with the leadership responsibility. “It is a great honour. I am delighted to captain this team. It was a great feeling to lift the Mick McCarthy Cup. We have a big panel with many leaders throughout which makes my role a lot easier.”

The Kilmacabea junior footballers were guided to championship glory this season by their former player Noel McCarthy, who took over the reins from Kevin O’Driscoll. Noel enjoyed a very successful debut season, as he expertly led his beloved Kilmacs to divisional glory. Niall is full of praise for Noel and his fellow coaches and selectors. “Noel ‘Dolly’ has done a super job in bringing everyone together again this year after the success of last year. He has a positive attitude that spreads through the squad. He is backed up strongly with James, Noel and Frank who have also played a massive role in this year’s success.”

The return to action with Kilmacabea by Daniel O’Donovan who played senior football with Bishopstown in recent seasons was a considerable boost to their panel. The towering midfielder brought great experience, aerial ability, pinpoint passing and great creativity to the divisional champions. His addition to their panel was a master-stroke revealed Niall. “The return of Dan this year has been a massive boost for everyone. He brings a lot of experience and he is worth three or four scores every game. He got Player of the Year for a reason. He is a great player.”

Talented corner forward Richie O’Sullivan was named Man of the Match in the replayed encounter for the second successive year in the divisional final. Richie struck four points from play in a majestic performance. “He is unplayable at times and at 23 he’s a household name in West Cork football. He kicked two points straight after half-time which set us on our way to winning the final. He is a class act.”

Another key player in their successful season was emerging talent Damien Gore. The former Cork underage player impressed once again from his full forward berth. Niall is fulsome in his praise for the top talent. “Damien is a class act. He will kick a score from anywhere within 30 yards off his left or right given an inch. He has recorded a serious tally once again this year. He will be key to us moving forward.”

Kilmacabea possess a nice mix of youth and experience in their squad which augurs well for the ambitious club moving forward. The divisional championship success their U21 team enjoyed in recent seasons help ignite a great hunger within the club for more championship glory. Niall is confident the club possess a very bright future going forward. “We have a lot of talented young players in the club. Over the last few years we’ve been bringing a few players through each year like Damien Gore and Ian Jennings, which has contributed to our strong squad. There is a nice mix of young and old throughout the squad now which suggests we have a bright future.”

 

Pictured above: Kilmacabea Captain Niall Hayes accepts the Mick McCarthy Cup from Carbery Board Chairman Joe Crowley

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