ONE of the more interesting developments over the past week or so was the decision by the city division GAA board to re-enter Seandún in the Cork County Premier SHC.
It’s been quite a while since we had a Seandún team in this championship and it was a good decision.
Similar to all other divisions, there are plenty of very good hurlers in the various city clubs who are eligible to play with the divisional team, but it’s getting them, firstly, to commit and, secondly, to put in the necessary effort.
Sadly, that has not been the case in a lot of divisions in recent years, except, of course, in Imokilly.
Their three-in-a-row feat of 2017, 2018, and 2019 is well-documented now and that all came about because of the personnel charged with managing the team and the players who bought into their strategy.
One accepts that the quality of player that was available to the Imokilly management was very strong, being able to draw from clubs that were challenging in their own club championships.
There are equally strong clubs, and very good players available, across the Cork landscape, but you only get something out of what you put into it.
If any divisional unit commits fully, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be in a position to challenge any team.
The Seandun division contains some very good clubs, at junior and intermediate level, that have very good hurlers at their disposal, hurlers who would be quite capable of ensuring that a Seandun team would give a very good account of itself.
Paul McCarthy, by all accounts, has put in a very big effort as team manager in getting players to commit for next season and that commitment has been forthcoming.
Having secured the services of Justin McCarthy as team coach is a considerable plus. He was one of the finest hurlers of his era, and an equally fine coach with a very impressive CV, here in Cork and beyond.
Hurling runs through this man’s veins and the Seandún players coached by him will be fully energised.
And with the experience that he possesses, there should be something for every player.
Nobody is saying that Seandún will be winning county titles or anything like that, but if you get the best players from clubs like Mayfield, St Vincent’s, Brian Dillon’s, Nemo Rangers, Whitechurch, and Passage, there is no reason why they shouldn’t do very well in the colleges/divisions section, which they will initially compete in and make that section that bit more interesting.
The Glen’s and Rockies’ successes at senior level in recent time gave city hurling a big boost, as did the Barrs winning the Premier One minor championship.
Now, with the return of Seandún to the fold, that has to be another positive for the overall good of the game north and south of the Lee.
On the club front, there were some interesting backroom changes, as well, with Ronan Curran going back in as number one for the Barrs and Ian Lynam taking the reins from Richie Kelleher in the Glen. In fact, across the county, all the clubs are now constructing their management teams for next season, although the inter-county programme will come before the clubs set off on the championship trail.
Curran took the Barrs to a county semi-final in 2018, losing to Imokilly, and took Kanturk to the semi-final of the Senior A championship in 2020.
He’s developing his credentials all the time and while this year the Togher club did not follow up on the progress of getting into the last-four two years ago, there were encouraging signs at the latter end of the season, the victory of the club’s minors being of great significance.
Therefore, Curran should have a decent blend of youth and experience to work with and there should be reason for cautious optimism.
Out in Blackpool, Lynam has been an integral part of the great work put in by Ritchie Kelleher’s team and he knows the club scene in Cork inside out.
It was important for the club to have continuity and the former player certainly brings that and he won’t have a problem in getting the players to give maximum effort again.
The Glen’s consistency over the past number of seasons has been quite remarkable. They reached five county finals in a short time and came out on top in two of them.
There’s no reason why that consistency cannot be maintained under the new boss. The playing fields might be silent for the present, and maybe into the foreseeable future, but the clubs are not letting the grass grow under their feet in their preparations for 2021 and in getting the right personnel to drive them forward.
And if the championship of the coming season is as exciting and competitive as it was this year, we should be very positive.
And there’s no reason why it cannot be because the structure of all the grades ensures that the margin for error is now minimal.