IN the picturesque parishes of Ardfield and Rathbarry they can't wait for St James’ Carbery Junior A football final appearance this Sunday evening
They take on double-chasing Ballinascarthy at 5.45pm in Timoleague, their first appearance in the decider.
Long-serving player Kevin O’Brien explained it's a major achievement for a small club to get this far in a strong football division.
"We have a relatively small catchment area with a low pool to pick from so these days don’t come around too often.”
They edged out Argideen by a point in the semi.
“It’s way more than just us as a group of players getting to a divisional final. You meet different generations of people who have represented the club in real barren years and have sacrificed a lot to keep the show on the road at times. Getting to the business end of the season is as much for them as it is for us as players, it’s a real club effort.
"As the weeks have gone on, more and more green and gold flags are flying in the parish with best wishes signs popping up all over the place.”
Last season they reached the semi-finals in both codes, though the congested fixture list caught them in the end. This summer they beat St Oliver Plunkett’s twice and Tadhg MacCarthaigh, while Frank Hayes got a great winner against Argideen.
"It’s been great to be part of it all this year with our player-manager Alan O’Shea and his support cast orchestrating proceedings. Morale has been high all year and the craic has been great.”
The vast majority of their team were members of their victorious county junior B team in 2005.
“The core of this team has been on the road for a while and many observers will say we are getting old. I much prefer the term “experienced” as opposed to “old”. We have a lot of lads who are excellent at game management. I think the real key for us is blending the experience with the youth.
"Hearing younger voices barking at you like our centre-forward Aaron Hayes is refreshing and helps drive on experienced lads too.”
Their rearguard have rightfully earned plaudits and they have yet to concede a goal.
“Diarmuid O’Donovan has been very consistent in goal. Stalwarts like Micheál McCarthy, Brittas, in particular, seem to be rolling back the years. Then there are young fellas like our captain Joseph O’Sullivan our captain, who has been a real breath of fresh air and instrumental in our defensive unit. We have a strong squad where everyone is fighting to make the difference, even if it’s just for two minutes closing out a game.
"It is very important to have a panel who all firmly believe in each other’s ability.”