WHEN Tom Clancy was coming through the underage ranks in Clonakilty his club’s senior side were county championship contenders.
They duly delivered in 2009 and made it back to the semi-finals a year later.
Since then, near-neighbours Carbery Rangers have established themselves as the primary force in the area, kingpins in 2016, runners-up in 2014 and perennial semi-finalists. They beat Clon in the first round and are favourites to do so again at the end of the month when the sides collide in the quarter-final.
“Rosscarbery are very experienced. Along with Ballincollig, they’ve been the top team in the county for the past few years outside of Nemo.”
They blew the Collig away in the first half in Bandon last Sunday, establishing a nine-point lead, but Clon did something similar to Bishopstown, hitting 1-2 without replay in the opening minutes.
“We’ve a very young team but things have gone well to get back to a quarter-final and we’re in bonus territory from now on. We know how tough it will be to go past another stage but we’ve a good set-up this year. Colm Ahearne had success before with Bandon and Aidan McCarthy is training us and we’re definitely in a good place.”
Even the sending off of Seán Nagle didn’t knock Clon out of their rhythm last weekend, though it helped they were able to introduce Clancy from the bench.
“It was one of the best wins we’ve had since I’m playing with Clon. We played a lot of very good football and we didn’t let the sending off make a difference. Now we got off to a great start with 1-1 in two minutes and that cushion was vital then, in that we could protect the lead after the red card and counter-attack.”
It was especially satisfying for Clancy after spending the summer Stateside, working, playing football, and taking in the sights of Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, San Diego, and more.
“I wasn’t sure if I’d miss a game or not and I was disappointed that I wasn’t there for the Newcestown game, but it was a great win for lads. It would have been a disaster to come back to no football.
“I was playing with Young Irelanders and we won the championship out there. Odhran Keane was the other Cork fella in the team, but we had Ciarán Reddin and Emmet Ó Conghaile, who have All-Ireland medals. The standard was very high, they’re excellent players. It was enjoyable, but it also kept me sharp enough too.”
Sharp enough to merit a recall by the Cork management?
“It’s not my decision at the moment. I’m happy out, playing with the club, but if it came up I’d have to look at it again.”