WHEN you are a defender it’s always nice to know that behind you is one of the top keepers in the county.
Now retired from the inter-county scene Ken O’Halloran continues as a dual star for his club, Bishopstown, and there are plenty of club sides that would like him for either team.
He has been one of the most consistent keepers on the club scene now for a number of years and it gives all in the side a certain air of confidence to know that he is guarding the net.
He’s not the type of keeper that is easily beaten and time after time he pulls off top-class saves to help inspire his side and on a number of occasions ensure they come out on top.
Have no doubt he will do more of the same this season and he will be one of the players that both the hurlers and footballers will look too during the league and championship.
Such is his standing in the club he has been named as captain of the hurling side this year, an honour he is delighted with.
Last year in the hurling championship they started with a one point win over Newtownshandrum and followed it up with a win over UCC in round three.
In a close and entertaining quarter-final they lost out to near-neighbours, St Finbarr’s by a point, 0-15 to 0-14, with the Barrs then losing in the semi-final to eventual winners Imokilly.
On the football front they got off to a winning start last weekend against in division four, a league level that is far below what they are capable of.
But like many dual clubs it can be difficult to balance the two and made that bit harder when you are missing players through their involvement with Cork.
This year there are no players from the club on either senior panel at present, but it’s not something that bothers Ken either way.
He also says that he things being a dual player is a good thing and keeps you fresh in training as you look forward to the nights when you mix it up from one to the other.
Their RedFM senior hurling league campaign gets underway away to Midleton tomorrow night and then they follow it with a home tie against Sarsfields.
Not the easiest starts to the league campaign, but Ken said that there are no easy games anymore no matter who you are playing and they are looking forward to getting the hurling underway at this stage.
“We are looking forward to getting going now at this stage, most teams are back training for a while and pitches were heavy, but looking forward to some on the field hurling now at this stage,” said Ken.
“The competition is really, really strong and every game is now a massive challenge in the league.
“I think the importance of the league has become more obvious to all in recent years as you can’t just turn it on now for championship. Maybe a number of years ago with so many teams in there it might have faded out towards the end, but not now.
“Now any side can beat their opponents on any give day and you really have to be up for it and you can’t afford to take any game lightly.
“As I said you can’t just turn it on when it comes to championship and if you look at the teams that are generally going well in that then most of the time they are also the sides that have gone well in the league and tend to be up there in contention for the quarter or semi-finals of the league.
“Last year we had a good league campaign and hopefully will drive it on again this year. But you have to come out of the blocks at the start and try and get a few wins under your belt to set you up for the rest of it.
“From a club point-of-view we have a couple of young players coming through and they are an addition to the squad and will make sure that there is competition for places which is a good thing to have.
“As captain it is my job, along with the other experienced players to help and encourage them during the year and, at times, help guide them through games.
“It’s an honour to captain the side, but we have leaders all over the pitch and that helps to make my job easier.
“Like all sides we have one eye on our opening championship game, ironically which is against Newtown again this year, but for now we will be focusing on the league games and we are aiming to get off to a good start,” concluded Ken.