IT would be fair to state that the performance of Douglas in last season’s Cork County SHC was hugely disappointing.
For a team containing quite a number of very high-profile players, many of them inter-county figures, they simply never got going.
They failed to win a game, losing to Cork IT in round one and to Killeagh in round 2B and their campaign was all over very quickly.
But that was then and this is now and they set off again on the campaign trail tomorrow night against the same Killeagh team that eliminated them last season.
Willie Coveney is the team manager again, now assisted by new team coach Noel Furlong and he accepts that they must do better this time.
“Last season was a massive disappointment and anything is an improvement on that.
“We were deservedly beaten by both teams even if it was only a point or two in both.
“I suppose things just didn’t go our way in the Killeagh game with a few injuries but they thoroughly deserved their victory.
“So it’s back to the drawing board this time. We had been touted as one of the fancied teams last season and that might possibly have affected our performances.
“We got to the semi-final the year before, a couple of the new players that came on board added to the thinking that we’d be there or thereabouts and that might have added to the pressure on everybody, players, management and maybe it was one of the causes but generally it was not a 60 minute performance in both games."
As a result of their disappointing exit, there was a re-appraisal and there was a consensus that things needed to be freshened up, something that the manager agreed with.
“Absolutely, I would have known of Noel Furlong in the years gone by and we had kept an eye on it.
“So we approached him, had a quick chat and we believed his experience would benefit our youthful side.
“He agreed so we decided to give it a go and so far things are going well but the only thing that matters is the 27th of April when we play Killeagh.
“The league has gone well for us, we have just lost one game and I suppose since we went up senior we have never had a run in the league.
“A contributory factor to that is that you are down six inter-county players between minor, under-21 and senior at various stages.
“That’s a third of your team and it’s hard to compete against full-strength when you are down that many in league games.
“But the fellows on the periphery of the panel have pushed on this year and that’s creating competition for places and that’s why we are doing so well in the league this time.’’
Now it’s Killeagh again, Coveney certainly hoping that lightning does not strike a second time against the East Corkmen.
“Yes, here we go again. I suppose we kind of know each other at this stage. We know what they will bring and they’ll know what we will bring.
“Last year was a very difficult game and they got everything right on that occasion and we didn’t obviously.
“We have seen them in the league, they have seen us and they have had a decent enough league too so I’d say it will be tit for tat just like last year.’’
There is, of course, the ongoing problem of having so many dual players involved, a common tale these days from most senior clubs.
“That will always be there. It’s a very difficult one and I suppose the sheer size of the numbers that we have playing both makes it so.
“With the new format it’s hard to do, all the more so if both teams are successful and when you come to August it’s week in, week out to try and get the championship finished.
“It’s a hard balancing act. There’s no real right way or wrong way and it’s all about steering clear of injuries and having your Cork players available.
“It’s necessary too to have a good relationship between both sets of management teams and if you don’t it makes the year even harder than it already is."