Blarney have made a shrewd move ahead of the upcoming Co-op SuperStores Cork Senior A Hurling Championship campaign with the addition of Donal O’Mahony to their backroom team.
Last year’s premier intermediate hurling champions have undergone a slight managerial rejig, as player-manager Paul O’Leary is focusing on playing for the coming season with Ronan Byrne stepping up from selector to manager. Brian Hurley remains as coach with O’Mahony – currently a Cork U20 selector, having held a similar role in the senior set-up during John Meyler’s time in charge – coming in to provide coaching expertise, too. Fintan D Coleman will also continue as a selector, with Stephen Casey as strength and conditioning coach.
Byrne is delighted to have someone of the calibre of O’Mahony, who has played a major part in the establishment of Christian Brothers College as a force in the Dr Harty Cup.
“Yeah, it’s a massive addition for us,” he said.
“We approached him and he said yes, so we were delighted. We felt that it was the next move for the club, because you can always learn.
“We spent the last two years with this group and they got the belief that they could win.
“It was a case of not resting on our laurels and trying to get to the next level and we felt that this the move and this was the guy who could help us to get there.
“We have a lot of players who have passed through Donal’s hands with various Cork teams and with Christians in the Harty Cup.”
Having reached the 2019 PIHC semi-finals, Blarney were somewhat unlucky to miss out on senior A when the championship grades were re-drawn prior to 2020. However, Byrne is keen for them to make their mark after last year’s promotion.
“We hope to take advantage of the momentum, really,” he said.
“If you look at the senior A final last year, Charleville against Fr O’Neills, those two teams came up the previous two years.
“We had a close call with Fr O’Neills in the 2019 premier intermediate semi-final and I think that they’ll be one of the favourites going into this year, probably seen as the team to beat.
“We have to try to take advantage of our momentum and keep moving forward. We have to keep working hard and doing the right things and that pays off. If we keep looking back at last year, we’ll never go anywhere.
“We want to be competing once we get up there and I think that it will be an even grade. You’ll certainly get no easy game at that level, they’re all good, strong teams. It’s definitely a step up, but I would like to think that we would compete.”