Young players Downey and Kennefick galvanised the Glen in vital opening round victory

Young players Downey and Kennefick galvanised the Glen in vital opening round victory
Glen Rovers' Simon Kennefick shoots from Ballymartle's Liam Corry. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

A couple of Glen Rovers youngsters swapped the books for hurleys in their emphatic county senior championship win over 14-man Ballymartle at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night.

Both Simon Kennefick, who marked his senior debut by scoring 1-3, and Robert Downey, starting his first game, are sitting the Leaving Cert next month.

And both contributed well to their team’s 4-20 to 1-9 success, which ensured a smooth passage to round three.

“We’ve spoken to the two lads about school being the more important thing, but they both want to hurl. We’ve also spoken to their parents, who are hurling people, and sure if they miss a training session due to study there’s no problem there.

“They’re great young fellows. We don’t want to put too much pressure on them at all. We tell them just go out and hurl and do the best they can,” said coach Richie Kelleher.

Glen Rovers' Robert Downey wins the ball from Ballymartle's Barry Dwyer. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Glen Rovers' Robert Downey wins the ball from Ballymartle's Barry Dwyer. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Downey was part of the Cork team, which reached the All-Ireland minor final last season, losing to Galway, and is already well flagged as a promising hurler.

“Simon was on our minor team, which won the county last year, and we’ve been watching him. He’s come back bigger and stronger,” Kelleher added.

“We are thrilled with the win because last year was a bit of a downer for us, when we made it hard for ourselves.

“We gave a great performance against Bride Rovers. The game against the Barrs was like a county final.

“The CIT match was a messy one for us, going to a replay, when we gave another great performance.

“Then, the Na Piarsaigh game was like another county final and we, simply, had too many games, too many tough games and all that was on the back of what happened in the three years before.”

The Glen’s fitness shouldn’t be an issue this season with Kelleher outlining their rigorous schedule.

“This season, we really pushed the lads in training, out three or four nights a week. We’ve worked them really, really hard and there’s more to come,” he said with a smile.

Ballymartle had to play over half the game with 14 players following the sending off of corner-forward John McCarthy.

“I don’t know what happened. It clearly had a big bearing on the rest of the game as did Patrick Horgan scoring a goal shortly afterwards, too.

“These things happen. We had a player sent off against Sars last year and we lost the match.

“You just have to accept that is how it goes in games. Ballymartle are a fine team and I’ve no doubt they will be back.

“Whoever they’ll be playing will have it all to do against them,” Kelleher concluded.

 

 

 

 

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