Barrs underage hurling work can see them return as senior contenders

Barrs underage hurling work can see them return as senior contenders

Carrigtwohill's David Rooney blocking the strike of St Finbar's Jamie Burns. The Barrs had to win that game to avoid a relegation play-off. Picture Denis Boyle

WHEN a club comes in from the cold to claim a major title it can often be similar to a rising tide that lifts all boats.

Much has been said and written about the dominance of East Cork clubs and the divisional side Imokilly in the Cork County SHC over the past 20 years or so. The likes of Sarsfields, Midleton, Erin’s Own, Carrigtwohill and the divisional unit dominating that landscape.

Much was written too about the demise of city hurling and the failure of marquee clubs like the Rockies, Glen and Barrs and Na Piarsaigh to make the desired impact.

It was said too that when the city clubs are not going well, the county team struggles too. That’s a matter of opinion but the pendulum of success is beginning to swing back again in favour of the city’s big guns. Since 2016, the county senior hurling title has been won three times by city clubs, the Glen twice and the Rockies this season.

The Glen have contested and lost a few finals as well in the recent past.

Unfortunately, a lengthy famine in the Barrs and to a lesser extent in Na Piarsaigh continues but, hopefully, that will change sooner rather than later.

In the Barrs' case, for the most part the season was a huge disappointment at senior level, losing heavily to the Glen followed by a loss to Na Piarsaigh and the subsequent management change.

However, when the crunch came against Carrigtwohill in the last championship outing when there was so much on the line, they stood up to the plate and played some outstanding hurling.

In fact, as performances went throughout the campaign, it was one of the best by any club.

That, of course, begged the question, why couldn’t it not have happened earlier.

That’s not here nor there now but in the aftermath of that win over Carrigtwohill it was stressed by those present that it should be the platform for better things going forward. 

And that may very well be the case and the subsequent outstanding success by the club’s minor team in winning the Premier 1 county title gave the Togher club further cause for optimism. 

That victory in that competition gave the club its first title at that particular level for over 20 years and the performance of quite a few players was exceptional. In fact, as minor successes go, this was a hugely impressive showing.

Now, there’s never a guarantee with minors when it comes to graduating to the bigger stages but if they are well looked after, properly coached and encouraged, a lot can happen.

So, from the doom and gloom of that opening night loss to the Glen, things should be looking up again in the Barrs.

And they’ll be saying to themselves out in Togher, we can do what the Glen have done and the Rockies did this year.

Blackrock landed the title. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Blackrock landed the title. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

It’s good for Cork hurling in general to have the big city clubs competing at the business end of campaigns and when a club that has endured a long famine comes through it gives impetus to the rest.

The new format in the Cork championships this season proved to be an outstanding success and the decision to prevail with the status quo was the right one. It made for a hugely more competitive championship in all grades across the landscape and as a result, standards will rise. 

Success does not come overnight for any club and you have to work very hard for it. The Rockies had to lose a county to Imokilly before they won one and, of course, it was a similar story with the Glen when they came good in 2015.

They got a trouncing the year previous from Sars but it showed the depth of character on the sideline and on the field when just 12 months later they were back at the top table.

Another city club that have not delivered on the big stage is Douglas and this year was a disappointment after they had secured a fine victory over Midleton. This is a club with huge potential but realising it is the big thing.

It’s never easy to make that initial breakthrough but you have to persevere.

There is much to look forward to next season because the overall playing field is levelling out.

The championship that was once the sole preserve of so few is now becoming far more open and Cork hurling has to benefit as a result.

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