SARSFIELDS senior hurling manager Barry Myers believes the squad of players that he will be guiding this season is more than capable of making a very significant impact on the Cork SHC.
Myers defeated former star player, Kieran ‘Fraggie’ Murphy in a vote within the club membership to succeed Brian Roche last weekend and he’s eagerly waiting for the green light when he can bring all the players together to begin on field preparations for the championship.
“Firstly, I want to say that it is a tremendous honour to be selected to manage the Sarsfields senior hurlers,” Myers told the Echo.
“There was a 75% turnout for the vote between myself and Kieran and I think that showed up the club in a strong light. I got the nod and there is absolutely no animosity between myself and Kieran, he’s the best in the world."
This week he finalised his management team, with former Waterford hurling star and selector Peter Queally, who hurled for the Cork previously when he was based in Cork, in as hurling coach. He'll be assisted by Limerick native Gavin O'Sullivan with ex-Cork footballer Paudie Kissane serving as S&C coach.
The selectors will be Vincie Barry and Diarmuid Looney.
Myers has certainly earned the right to get the shot at the big job in the thriving Riverstown club, having managed very successfully at county minor, U21 and junior level, winning premier county titles in the first two and getting to a county final in the latter, losing to eventual All-Ireland club champions Mayfield.
“Yes, I suppose I have come up through the grades and had great success in those and a lot of those players will be with me now as we begin the senior journey.
“I would say that numbers-wise, we are one of the strongest clubs around and on all the teams in the club there is fierce competition for places.
“We haven’t won the senior county for a few years now after a great run of success but I believe we are ready to be challenging strongly again at the business end.
“That’s where I will want us to be, being heavily involved at that part of the season, getting back to where we were.
“I believe the base is already firmly laid down and this club wants success."
And he believes that he has the right blend of youth and experience to ensure that Sars will be back in county senior finals again and winning them.
There are no guarantees, of course, but I believe that with the experience of players like Conor O’Sullivan, the Kearney brothers, Alan Kennedy, Craig Leahy, just to mention a few alongside the younger lads coming through, we’ll have the right combination.
“It was a big disappointment to lose to our neighbours from Erin’s Own in the SHC last season but I honestly believe we can come back from that even stronger."
Myers believes that the SHC in Cork this time will be no different, hugely competitive again with plenty of teams capable of making a big impact.
“There are five or six clubs at least that will be challenging strongly and then you will have Imokilly again who, I believe, will be back again this time.
“But we’ll be concentrating on ourselves and being the best that we can be. I believe we are as good as any of the others but we’ll have to up the intensity and just drive on and see where it takes us.
“I won a minor title in 2014 with Sars, beating Killeagh in a replay after some great tussles and 11 of that team are playing senior now.
“We beat Killeagh in an U21 final in 2017 and these fellows are at the perfect age now and I know that group very well.’’
Myers got down to work quickly after his appointment, appointing former Cork football star Paudie Kissane as his strength and conditioning coach and Gavin O’Sullivan from Kilmallock as the hurling coach. Since then Peter Queally, Vincie Barry and Diarmuid Looney had been added.
“Yes, Gavin was with me in 2014 with the minors, he knows the scene very well and Paudie will be a huge addition with the strength and conditioning side of things. They are strong people who I am looking forward to working with. We’ll finalise the rest of the backroom team shortly."
Myers, like everybody else, can’t wait to get things moving again out on the field of play and he hopes that’s sooner rather than later.
“Obviously, I can't wait to get started with what I believe is a very talented squad of players.
“They’ll be doing their own programmes at home for the present but when it starts up there will be great competition for places on the team, that’s the way any manager wants it to be.”