Kilworth hurlers' blend of youth and experience has seen them defy the odds

Kilworth hurlers' blend of youth and experience has seen them defy the odds
Mark O'Connor, Kilworth, battles Michael O'Connell, Inniscarra. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

TAKING the direct route and getting a bye into the quarter-final has worked out well for Kilworth in their quest to win the Cork County PIHC.

That’s according to team manager Shane Tobin as he focuses on the final frontier tomorrow night against Fr O’Neill’s.

Kilworth saw off Valley Rovers, Carrigaline and Inniscarra to reach the final and it’s all systems go now for this last fling.

Aidan Kenny and Maurice McNamara celebrate reaching the final. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Aidan Kenny and Maurice McNamara celebrate reaching the final. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

“It helped that we took the direct route and getting a bye into the last eight. Going the direct way and avoiding a potentially dangerous second-round is the best way to go in this grade.

“There are no easy games, most of the sides, there’s hardly a puck of a ball between them.

“We had Valleys, Carrigaline, who had been very impressive in their previous two games, and Inniscarra who came in too against us after some big wins.

“You could say that they were three big wins for us but that’s history now and we want to make it four out of four against O’Neill’s." 

Saturday night’s finalists met at the quarter-final stage last season with O’Neill’s coming through by four points.

“Yes, they got the better of us that day and going back to 2005 they beat us in the county junior final.

“We have good few of the lads from that final still very involved, Kieran Walsh, Maurice McNamara, Mark O’Connor, Brian Tobin and Tom Twomey and they are very experienced players for us.

“We have a few younger lads too, Jamie Sheehan and Eoin Carey and others so we have a nice blend in the side.

“Look, we know we are up against it, Fr O’Neill’s have been the fancy since the start but if we play for the full hour and I mean the full hour we’ll give it a great shot.

“In one or two games we tend to drift in and out but against a team like O’Neill’s you must be fully concentrated all the way." 

Kilworth is a club with a rich tradition that is now being carried on by these boys and the structures are being put in place underneath to ensure a vibrant future.

"Yes, our minors are in a B county final with Killara Óg and that’s good for those lads. The underage wasn’t great there for a while but we are building it up again and there’s a good platform being laid." 

Kilworth goalkeeper Sean O'Flynn in action in the recent St Colman's hurling Primary School blitz. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Kilworth goalkeeper Sean O'Flynn in action in the recent St Colman's hurling Primary School blitz. Picture: Larry Cummins.

It’s only natural in a small, rural club that there would be a big build-up and that is the way it is in Kilworth this week.

“Of course, county final days are not frequent in most clubs and there’s a great buzz here but, at the same time, you do your best to insulate the players from most of that.

“There’s flags, buntings, banners all around but for us as a management team this is the fourth game of a process.

“We have won three, let’s see how the fourth goes now and I know these players will do everything that they can to try and win it."

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