Fr O'Neill's appoint new hurling management team for 2021

Fr O'Neill's appoint new hurling management team for 2021

Billy Dunne, Fr O'Neill's, in action against Ballymartle back in August. Picture: Larry Cummins.

FR O'Neill's have confirmed that a new hurling management team is in place in advance of next season's championship campaign. 

After a heartbreaking defeat to Charleville in an epic finale to the Senior A campaign, the East Cork side will be hoping they can go one better in 2021.

Robbie Dalton takes over the role as team manager and will be joined on the sidelines by Micheál Broderick, Luke Swaye and Quintin Higgins. The new team boss was part of the backroom team under Broderick that guided the club to win the County Premier U21 title for the first time in the club's history in 2018. 

Dalton has also been involved with some of the current team when they played in the intermediate grade during the last decade.

Dave Colbert and Bryan Sweeney, who were joint managers of the team during a hugely successful area, stepped down along with their selectors at the end of the recent campaign following a three-year term. They led the club to the Premier Intermediate and provincial titles last year, before losing a cracking All-Ireland final against Tullaroan in Croke Park early this year.

"We enjoyed a tremendous run under Dave and Bryan," commented Fr ONeill's PRO Seamus Joyce. 

"Along the way we just needed a bit more luck, when you look back at the All-Ireland final in January and the county final in October. Robbie has plenty of pedigree and he and his selectors are now really looking forward to getting going. 

"Hopefully the players who have been out with long-term injuries will all be ready for action. Ger Millerick, Dan Harrington, Adrian Kenneally and Cal Hegarty all missed out this year."

Tommy Walsh of Tullaroan is marked by Ger Millerick of Fr O'Neill's. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Tommy Walsh of Tullaroan is marked by Ger Millerick of Fr O'Neill's. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The second tier of hurling in the county is again expected to be highly competitive with several quality teams likely to be in contention for top honours. 

Seamus Joyce is well aware that despite being seeded next year, his club will face a very difficult task.

"There are several teams capable of winning this champ[ionship. Apart from the teams we saw this year, Blarney are coming up and Ballyhea are coming down, so it's going to be a huge challenge again for all involved. On any given day, so many teams are capable of beating each other."

Nevertheless, O'Neill's will be on the short list of all pundits to be in the mix at the business end of the competition. They romped through the group stages this year accumulating a winning margin of 43 points over four games en route to the final. 

However, old rivals Charleville just edged the decider by the minimum despite O'Neill's raising four green flags on the day. There is no denying the desire of players and management to make a big impression again in next year's championship.

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