Sars show benefit of strong underage to compete for counties with two teams

Sars show benefit of strong underage to compete for counties with two teams
Sarsfields' Kevin Crowley and Douglas' Richard Murphy trying to win the ball in the Co-op Superstores Cork IAHC at Blarney. Picture Denis Minihane.

AS a player and manager Tadhg Murphy has seen it all. 

The Sars and Glanmire club legend is currently at the helm of the hurlers' second team, who secured a quarter-final shot at Cloughduv in the IAHC after a resounding victory over Douglas last weekend.

Murphy believes the revised format, group stages and a tightened season for clubs, has been a resounding success.

"The new championship is a revelation. I heard Mark Landers say 'people are back talking about local championships again' and he's right. It's not just because of the lockdown. Before we had a game and then a break for three months and everything was forgotten about. 

"Hopefully we can maintain something similar going forward and get the championship played in a reasonable space of time. Obviously we're going well, we got two wins over the weekend, and that won't always happen but there's huge interest out there across the county. The only pity is supporters can't come to see it but the streaming is working well.

"We streamed an intermediate game for the first time and we've the same coming up with the minors."

Sars have a steady supply of young hurlers coming through every year. While they were P2 at U16 this year, they're in U14 and minor Premier 1 county semi-finals next week, at home to Ballincollig in both. Last season they lifted the U21 crown.

"We're fortunate we've good people involved and big numbers, though that doesn't always guarantee success, in fact it creates its own problems. We've appeared in seven senior counties and won four of them, which has drawn young fellas to the club. It's lifted us to a new level.

"You need to be competitive at every age because you've no divine right anymore to expect lads to pick hurling over other sports."

Sarsfields' Timmy Murphy soloing downfield chased by Ian Lucey of Douglas. Picture Denis Minihane.
Sarsfields' Timmy Murphy soloing downfield chased by Ian Lucey of Douglas. Picture Denis Minihane.

Their intermediate squad is backboned by some hardy hurlers.

"We'd some very seasoned men out there. Darren Kenneally, Cormac Duggan, who had a great game, Kevin Crowley, Garry Grey... We're not playing any minor at the moment.

"Everyone trains together so they're in and out of the senior squads. We were fortunate to have Pat Ryan there for the last few years and he was a great man to bond them. We've Fraggie [Kieran Murphy] now and it's the exact same. 

"The boys will respect coaches like that but they're hugely keen themselves, very motivated and just mad for hurling. You can't ask for more."

Brian Roche's senior side meet rivals Erin's Own in the quarter-finals, while for Murphy's group it's a clash with Cloughduv. 

An impressive resurgence after an opening game loss to Éire Óg.

"We knew Éire Óg were very strong, one of the favourites really. That was a performance we were pleased with and we hurled well against Meelin and again against Douglas."

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