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Cloughduv brothers Mark and Brian Verling after winning the Munster title last year. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cloughduv brothers Mark and Brian Verling after winning the Munster title last year. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
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After making a hurling breakthrough, Cloughduv have their sights set high

CLOUGHDUV have been making a rapid rise up the ranks and they have no intention of stopping just yet.

It was around this time last year they secured the Cork Junior A Hurling crown, before going on to win the Munster Junior decider and reach the semi-final stages of the All-Ireland.

Now as the end of 2019 comes near, the Mid Cork side have a Cork Intermediate final to look forward to against Blackrock.

Brian Verling, Cloughdubh GAA, accepting the September Muskerry GAA/Auld Triangle Sports Award from Eileen O'Flynn, Auld Triangle. Included are Brian's parents, Anna Maria and Richard, sister Katie, brothers, Mark and James.Picture: Mike English
Brian Verling, Cloughdubh GAA, accepting the September Muskerry GAA/Auld Triangle Sports Award from Eileen O'Flynn, Auld Triangle. Included are Brian's parents, Anna Maria and Richard, sister Katie, brothers, Mark and James.
Picture: Mike English

Brian Verling has been one of their key men over recent times. He produced impressive performances throughout the Cork IHC in 2019, including in the recent successes over Meelin and Sarsfields.

Those proved to be a big factor in him being chosen as the Muskerry GAA/Auld Triangle Sports Star award winner for the month of September.

Throughout Verling has become a potent scoring weapon for Cloughduv both in terms of scores from frees and also indeed from play.

But speaking to The Echo upon being presented with his accolade, Verling was keen to stress this was an accolade which showcases the efforts of Cloughduv as a collective over the last while or so.

“It is a reflection of the work we have done in the last two years really. It is a team sport we play in and the hat goes off to the whole team and the panel that we have managed to drive it on for the last two years.

“This is more of a team award as I see it really.” 

Brian in action for UCC.
Brian in action for UCC.

There is a strong collective bond between the Cloughduv players. That is witnessed on the field of play but also off of it, as a large number of Verling’s teammates in attendance on the night in the Auld Triangle for the award presentation.

The Cork JAHC success for Cloughduv last term was them finally breaking through to make up for recent heartbreak. They were defeated in the Cork Junior decider in 2009, 2010 and 2015 as they were to come up short. Victory in the final last year bridged a 48-year gap since claiming their last Junior decider.

While another indication of how things are going in Cloughduv is how their second string were victorious in the Mid Cork JAHC this term.

Verling and his Cloughduv teammates have continued to ride the crest of a wave and are now just one hour away from the Premier Intermediate grade of hurling in Cork.

“Yeah it is brilliant. We have not really had any time off. We have managed to keep our hurling going throughout.

“We have had a good enough run this year, so one more match now and hopefully we will get another shot at Premier Intermediate Hurling.

“We have played well. We have come up against a lot of strong teams and we have held our own.

“So I think we are reasonably happy. I think at the start of the year our aim probably was just to stay up. We hadn’t really thought about a county final or anything like that.

“Now we have found ourselves here and we are just one game away from winning it.

“That is how we have taken it, one game at a time and not to get too ahead of ourselves.”

Cloughduv players Brian Ahern and Mark Verling celebrate last year. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cloughduv players Brian Ahern and Mark Verling celebrate last year. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The Intermediate final is against Blackrock. Although it is their second string outfit, the city club will be absolutely no pushovers, with this being their second IHC decider in a row after they lost to Ballincollig in the final last year.

Even though they are in the latter stages of the year, the buzz of a county final is keeping those out in the Cloughduv direction going during the darker winter nights.

The carrot of also potentially playing Premier Intermediate Hurling next year must also be an attractive prospect as well.

Verling and all those out in Cloughduv are most certainly eagerly awaiting their county championship decider forthcoming, “Our team has become close and we are all really good friends.”

“It is brilliant to be hurling still. It is not the greatest weather to hurl in, but I would rather be hurling than not hurling.

“We had been knocking on the door with a fair while. You look back at other teams that have won counties and that is what we have tried to emulate, looking at old photos in the clubhouse.

“It is brilliant. A couple of weeks ago there was an event for the underage kids and we turned up. The numbers were savage and a couple of hundred turned up.

“It is brilliant for the club as a whole.”