Seandún hurlers have a first class backroom team for championship return

Manager Paul McCarthy has assembled a brilliant package for the division
Seandún hurlers have a first class backroom team for championship return

Brian Dillon's Darragh Rodgers clears from Passage's Ryan Carroll in the Sports Turf Solutions Seandún JAHC final at Ballinlough. The division will have a team in the Premier SHC in 2-2021. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

IT'S been a decade since Seandún hurlers last competed in the Premier senior championship and now over 70 players from nine different clubs across the city are been put through their paces to make the 2021 a memorable season.

The team will be managed by Paul McCarthy, son of St Finbarrs and Cork legend Gerald McCarthy, with former Cork and Waterford manager Justin McCarthy, included in the management. The main focus at the moment is to get a talented group of players to gel together and play as a unit with the help of his experienced and knowledgeable backroom staff.

“It’s great that Seandún will once again have a team competing at the top tier of hurling in Cork,” said McCarthy.

“We have over 80 people in our group, from players to backroom staff and board members and I am very grateful and privileged to be given this opportunity as team manager.” 

The 39-year-old father of three from Togher began coaching at an early age of 21 when he felt his love of playing wasn’t the same.

“I never really enjoyed playing early on because there were always people roaring at me no matter what I did because of who my dad was. I was always reminded of that. I was a rogue anyway without listening to that. I played up to U16 when I scored two goals in the county final, on a team that contained some outstanding players like Ronan Curran and Robert O’Mahony and I had some great coaches like Niall Goulding and John Browne. 

"My dad never got involved with any of mine or my brothers' teams after street leagues, something which I actually admire because there’s too much emotion involved with your own kids. I actually believe no parents should be involved with their own kids directly. That’s just my humble opinion.

“I drifted away for a while and got back playing U21, junior and intermediate but coaching was always the pathway I wished to go."

His coaching career started with St Finbarr's minor football team in 2004 when he was 21. The Blues got to a county final only to lose to a late Douglas point. 

Since then he has coached and managed Barrs' U14, U15, U16, minor, U21, junior A and junior B teams winning four county and two city championships along the way. 

"I also coached the Barrs' U13 and U14 camogie teams aswell as Presentation Ballyphehane school to three Munster colleges titles.” 

Although still quite young, McCarthy has achieved a lot of success and gained so much experience over the years, a lot of which he picked up from his days watching his father back in the ‘90s and experience he hopes will help him for the coming season.

“I remember as a young fella in 1990 travelling around with the cork team when my dad was coach. Later then going to coach Waterford and back again with Cork in 2007 so I definitely picked up things being around top-level sportsmen like that. With them, you got to learn things you could never learn from the internet or from coaching courses.

“I am really looking forward to the season ahead. The response we have received from the players and clubs has been phenomenal. We have over 70 players from nine clubs involved. 

"There’s some vastly experienced players like Nicky Kelly, Thomas Lawrence, Cian McCarthy and Darragh Rodgers who have all represented Cork at U21, intermediate and senior levels. 

"We also have the younger players like Michael Mullins from Whitechurch, who was a Cork minor recently, and Blake Murphy from St Vincent’s. They're both hugely talented young players that will benefit from having such experience around them. Getting these players to gel together and play for each other is our target, and from there we feel anything can happen.

Former Cork U20 football captain Blake Murphy is set to feature with the Seandún hurlers next season. Picture: Domnick Walsh
Former Cork U20 football captain Blake Murphy is set to feature with the Seandún hurlers next season. Picture: Domnick Walsh

“In the backroom team, we have John O'Callaghan from Whitechurch who is a highly respected coach who has vast experience at junior level. Gordan Ahern from Lough Rovers is our goalkeeping coach, he has played in goal for Blackrock in senior championship. 

"Justin McCarthy from Passage is one of the legends of the game, one of the most experienced hurling men anywhere in the country. His record speaks for itself. Justin was coach of Seandún when they beat the Barrs who were All-Ireland champions at the time back in 1975 to reach the semi-finals of the county, a game my dad played in also for the Barrs. 

We also have a stats man, forwards and back coaches, as well as a logistics manager and a couple of more men helping out. All people involved will bring their own energy and experience and we cannot wait to get going.” 

Like any new organisation starting out, funding can be difficult and the Seandún hurlers are no different and McCarthy is calling out to any local businesses to help out in whatever way they can.

“Because of the substantial cost of each session and the fact we have little to no income like the rest of the teams in the competition like club bars, club shops, club lottos. We are actively sourcing funding of any kind and sponsorship would be amazing for us in running from week to week.

“We obviously have a great facility in Ballinlough for matches but we intend to have a few months training in the Páirc Uí Chaoimh 4G pitch. We have already received some funds from local businesses like Shandon Street Credit Union, Tom Lee Crash Repairs, Ideal Pet Shop, Fitzgerald’s Menswear for which we are very grateful. 

"We of course would welcome more local businesses in Cork that would like to help out in any way. For us to compete at the top, these funds are imperative to give the lads the best possible start, these players have and will represent the city division with pride, I think they deserve all the help they can get." 

You can contact Paul at ​seandunseniorhurlers2021@gmail.co​m or divisional secretary Mick Buckley at ​secretary.seandun.cork@gaa.com.

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