THE Scoil Phobail Bheara senior footballers captured the Munster U19 D championship title recently with their seven-point win over Castlegregory at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney.
The Beara Community School football team were guided to Munster final glory for the first time in four years by Bantry Blues footballer Sean O’Leary.
Sean was delighted with their recent Munster success: “It was a huge achievement for the school. Most of the panel were involved last year when we lost the U16.5 final to Cahir.
“That was extremely disappointing, but it is a testament to the massive work the lads are after putting in to win the Munster championship.
“This is the school’s fourth time winning a Munster title in its history. They previously won titles in 1994, 2010 and 2016,” said the proud coach.
Sean who has previously represented Cork at various underage levels has proved himself a great GAA coach with the huge success he has helped Beara Community School enjoy.
He credits the school and the various clubs within the Beara division for their supportive role as a big factor in their Munster final glory.
“The school have been fantastic in supporting us wherever possible.
“The buy-in from the clubs has also been great. All the Beara clubs were involved in the strategic review of Beara football and they looked for the schools input.
“They identified the school as an area for improvement. We agreed that Wednesday would be the school’s day to train and all the clubs would leave that day alone which has worked extremely well for us.
“They have been great to work with. Every effort has been made to help us achieve our goals.”
Beara Community School secured a comfortable Munster final triumph on a final scoreline of 3-8 to 2-4.
“Our lads performed exceptionally well. We went in with only a five-point advantage at half-time having played with a strong wind.
“After half-time the lads took full control with two early goals. We never really looked in danger of losing. It was a great experience for the lads to get to play in Fitzgerald Stadium. The facilities were top class. We had great support there which was fantastic.
“The crowd got bigger towards the end of the game as the Corn Uí Mhuirí final was on afterwards. You could hear the Beara voices loud and clear which was great.”
Sean is assisted by Kenmare native Dara Crowley.
“Dara brings a solid amount of the experience, still being a player himself. This is only my second year in the school and I can honestly say that I have never come across such a committed bunch of footballers in my life.
“Numbers are always going to be tight in a school of roughly 330 pupils.
“We have a panel of just under 30 players. Without fail the majority of them are there for every training session hail, rain or snow which is extremely refreshing as a coach.
“The playing talent is in Beara. One of the major issues is how do we keep them playing football in Beara?
“You look at one of our Leaving Cert students next year, best case scenario he goes to UCC or CIT. It is a lot to ask them to travel four hours of a round trip for training two to three times a week.”
Beara Community School now advance to an All-Ireland semi-final clash against the Connacht champions Dunmore which is provisionally scheduled to be played this weekend.
“They are going to be a tough challenge. It will be a huge occasion for the players.
“They are constantly talking about the game. It is great to win a Munster title and the lads really enjoyed that, but now its about getting the heads and bodies right for another big battle.
“The whole school is buzzing. A few of the staff and even students might not have an interest in football, but they’re coming up congratulating the lads on a great win.
“They appreciate what a great achievement it is for both the school and the community. The community is hugely excited too.”
A number of the victorious Beara Community School football team have represented the various Cork underage football teams in recent years.
Sean credits their experience and composure as vital in their Munster final triumph.
“It was great to have a number of players who had played underage football with Cork.
“Their calmness seemed to spread across to the other players.
“It really helped us as a whole. We’ve the likes of Joe O’Shea who has played in front of a near full house in Croke Park on All-Ireland final day.
“He has an All-Ireland medal in his back pocket which is a real help in the dressing room.
“We also have two players on the minor panel this year, Fintan Fenner and Darragh O’Sullivan.
“We also have a Cork U16 player in Dylan Crowley. Having that experience and touch of class is a huge help. We have huge competition for places due to the amount of hard work lads are putting in.
“Our lads possess a good, honest and hardworking attitude which is extremely refreshing.”