These Articles were published in The Evening Echo August 28th & 29th by John Bohane
Tuesday Aug 28th 2018
Underage Teams are giving Cork hope
Football by John Bohane
After a disappointing season for the Cork adult football teams, the underage teams provided a glimmer of optimism. The Cork U16 footballers beat Kerry to claim the Munster Football title in Limerick recently. James McCarthy who works as a GDA in West Cork and West Muskerry was thrilled
“It was a great win for them, they are a very promising team. It is a great boast for Cork football. Daniel Cronin, from the St Mary’s club is their manager. He has done a great job, nurturing these very talented players, said the coach.
The Cork U16 football squad prepared diligently. Their work ethic all season was admirable. They are continuously seeking to improve and develop their game to a higher level. A lot of that squad have worked their way up from various underage squads, so there is great unity and spirit built up within that squad.
Another encouraging factor, I feel, is that this years U16 squad were linking in and working with the minor team under Bobby O’Dwyer, which is a great decision.
Bobby previously served as the U16 manager, so he is well-aware of their talents. It is great for the players to see a thorough structure and goal ahead for them, if they continue progressing. There is a good spread of players across the county, which is very encouraging. A lot of players are coming frm clubs based in North Cork and we are seeing a lot of players emerging from clubs who have not traditionally provided many players for Cork teams in years gone by, which is great to see. This reinforces our view that the talent is in the county and the coaches on the ground, in every club are doing great work producing these players.
The power base of players are coming from just outside the city in clubs such as Ballinora and Valley rovers etc. The lads were very good in the final. Cork football badly needs a boast. They are a very talented group of players. We cant get carried away, as it is still only a Munster tournament victory, but the signs are promising, if these players can keep progressing and improving.
It is also great for their confidence to beat Kerry at any age group as it breeds a winning mentality, which is always vital. Winning tournaments, as a group, helps to build confidence and unites the panel even more. The great thing about this U16 panel is they have been used to winning tournaments all the way up, so even when they are not playing to their full potential or they have an off-day, they will get over the line, as they are used to winning which is great.
The players, however, need games to keep improving and learning. They need regular, and good competitive games.
James is full of praise for the Cork U16 football selectors who have guided this impressive squad of players into a very strong panel. Daniel Cronin and Gene O’Donovan, from O’Donovan Rossa, have done a great job. They took over from Bobby O’Dwyer, Ollie Sullivan, and Michael Hannon, who moved up to the minor team. Daniel Cronin operated as a selector last year with the U16 team. He took over a manager this season and has thrived in his new role. There is great coaching and great work going on behind the scenes, with all the various Cork underage football teams. There is great communication between all the various coaches. The coaches are putting in phenomenal work. Coaching in Cork is hard, due to the sheer size of the county. The new 4G pitch adjacent to Pairc Ui Chaoimh played a big role in helping the players train, despite the inclement weather earlier this season. The new 4G pitch has been a considerable help to all the underage players and coaches. They were able to train on it on a regular basis. It has really developed their game. We lost no training sessions all year, due tot eh availability of this pitch, which is vital in helping their development.
Also helping the feel-good factor among Cork underage football was the recent success of the Western Cork U15 team, who defeated North Kerry and South Kerry, on route to winning the Humphery Kelleher memorial Cup. James was equally pleased with their triumph. This team is comprised of players from Carbery, Muskerry, Carigdhoun and Beara, which represents half the county. Niall Twomey from Bantry is in charge of this team. Former Cork goalkeeper, Alan Quirke is also involved with this team as a selector. Billy O’Connor from Cullen, who is a Cork minor selector is also involved. From the U15 team to the minor team they are all tied in, which ensures familiarity with coaches, systems, and strength-and-conditioning. These moves are all very beneficial, going forward. Said James.
Wednesday Aug 29th 2018
Work will pay off for Cork Football
GAA by John Bohane
The Cork underage footballers recently enjoyed great success in the various Munster football tournaments held throughout the summer, which augurs well for Cork football going forward. The Western Cork U15 team which comprises of players from the Beara, Carbery, Carigdhoun and Muskerry captured the Humphrey Kelleher Memorial Cup after they defeated North Kerry and South Kerry respectively en route to winning the competition.
Cork GDA James McCarthy who serves in West Cork and West Muskerry was delighted with their success. They are a very talented team full of promising players. They produced a number of great performances throughout the tournament. The North Cork U15 team were also very good, they were only defeated by South Kerry after extra-time, declared the Castlehaven native.
All they players on the victorious Western Cork U15 team have graduated up through the ranks from the various underage Cork teams. McCarthy is delighted to see progress these players are making on an annual basis. These players are continuously developing and improving. They have come up from the U14 level which is comprised of four regions. The regions are reduced to two at U15 level and then A and B from U16 on. The systems are in place and I believe they are working. Progress is definitely being made and the recent success from the various Cork underage teams is very positive. It is definitely a step in the right direction.
We won’t get ahead of ourselves however, it can get better and we are always looking for more mentors to get involved. The recent success shows we have a high level of football talent in the county. We are getting great support from Rebel Óg and the county board. The players are coming through, we just need to be patient. Thee promising teams are playing a lot of challenge games against various other counties and winning which is a great sign.
The lack of competitive games when players reach minor grade is a massive frustration for figures within Cork GAA. The Cork minor footballers exited the championship this season following their narrow defeat to Kerry. McCarthy is adamant more competitive games will speed up the development of these promising players.
Our players need regular and competitive games. Our minor players could badly do with playing more games and experiencing playing quarter-final ties in new venues and in front of decent crowds. That sort of experiences is invaluable. At the moment the straight knockout format in Munster is not beneficial at all to teams trying to develop players. In Leinster, they operate a round robin system which makes more sense. McCarthy is full of praise for all the coaching going on behind the scenes throughout the country which is nurturing the players from a young age and helping instil a love of GAA in the players. There is savage voluntary work going on which is great to see. All the various coaches are doing great work. The players themselves are a joy to work with, they are serious athletes with great attitudes. They are striving to improve and win with Cork.
Everyone is pulling in the same direction. We all have a firm love of Cork GAA and our aim is to develop players for the inter-county teams and bring success to the county. The four Cork U14 football teams also enjoyed very good success in the annual Jim Power tournament which was held in Waterford recently. McCarthy was delighted with the nature of their performances. We divided up the Cork team into four teams which drastically reduces our chances of winning. For us it is about developing the players and nurturing their talent. The North Cork team which includes players from Avondhu and Duhallow were very impressive. They defeated North Kerry before they eventually succumbed to South Kerry, The West Cork team defeated South Wexford and Limerick. It is amazing to think the Carbery division defeated a county like Limerick. The four regions are very strong which is promising. We have very committed players. One of the Carbery players who hails from Urhan left home at 4.30am in the morning to make the tournament. He arrived home that night after 10pm. It is very encouraging to know we have players like that who want to play for their county and who desperately want to improve as players. The future is very positive for Cork Football.
We are producing very good players with very strong characters. Their parents also deserve great praise for supporting them in their quest to play for Cork. James is thrilled with the structures in place at present which are designed to produce top players for the foreseeable future.
The GDAs are in charge of the U13 squads and they are due to begin very soon. They will coach a new batch of layers and hopefully develop them up the line to the various grades up the ladder. We have a great system in place, good communications, very good coaches, great support from the various boards etc, but we will not rest up in our pursuit of excellence. Everything could still be better. We will leave no stone un turned in our mission to produce talented players for the future.