STRONG attacking options served Bandon well as they overcame Carrigtwohill to advance to round three on Saturday evening.
All six starting forwards scored for the Lilywhites in a 2-18 to 0-14 win in Ovens, and but for Carrigtwohill goalkeeper Shane Devlin they would have raised more green flags. The win, and that over Muskerry in round one as well as a narrow extra-time loss to Blackrock, show that the Carbery club are not out of place at senior.
Manager Niall O’Halloran is delighted with how his panel is developing.
“We’ve always said that we think we have good enough forwards for this level,” he said.
“The forwards will decide how much you win the game by but a lot of that winning of the game is done further back the field, some players gave unbelievable performances.
“We’ve a strong squad, there are some lads there who are disappointed they didn’t get a game today. We’re building a squad and we’re hoping that in the next round we’ll have another two or three back.”
Bandon have only won one of eight league games, drawing two more, but those results mask an improvement which has been seen in the furnace of championship.
“The league table probably isn’t a true reflection of where we’re at,” O’Halloran said.
“We’ve never had a full panel available to us, but we’ve been really competitive, we’re learning and we’re learning on our feet.
“Against Blackrock, we were beaten after extra time – it was a very hard pill to take but it drove us on, there’s no doubt about that.
“We didn’t want to go out on that note and I think we were really dangerous going forward and the backs looked so solid but that’s down to a lot of work on the training ground and a lot of talking.
“The players take ownership of this themselves. We sit down and talk about how we’re going to play – if they’re happy, I’m happy. We’re training to suit what faces us next and I think the players made some great decisions on the ball.”
With a game against a side who have both won and lost coming up, O’Halloran feels that Bandon have nothing to fear.
“We’ll be playing our fourth game,” he said.
“Muskerry was a tricky game, but it gave us great confidence. We were nervous at times, we played really good hurling at times, but I think we were really nervous.
“Against Blackrock, the shackles came off. You saw how strong Blackrock were against Ballymartle, but we know that we’re not a bad team at all.
“As a club, we’re delighted and to be in the business end of the championship is a great thing.”
Carrigtwohill manager Martin McConville was disappointed but now downbeat, however.
“Against Midleton, we had a number of debutants,” he said, “and tonight, through injuries, we had another two new lads starting.
“It can be difficult trying to play matches at this level when you haven’t got the full team available. In saying that, it’s still 15 against 15, the lads gave it everything.
“There are still things we can work on and things that we can do differently the next time. We had a lot of wides in the first half.
“We knew that we were going to be up against it and everyone would have to work hard, but you need the rub of the green then, those balls had to be going over the bar.
“They are a very young team, I know that if they keep hurling together they’re going to end up getting better as well.”