PRIOR to mentioning that another former Kerry Celtic Cross may be the inspiring figure for this week’s column, can I take you back to the topic of northside football I cover last week?
At the outset, my thanks to a number who made contact but one, in particular, made very salient points.
The contributor was obviously a very passionate Mayfield follower, who felt that last season’s relegation of his club’s adult team back into the city junior football championship was an unfair imposition.
Recently, the decision by the executive of the Cork County Board not to proceed with its major relegation plan for 12 hurling teams back to junior for this year because of Covid shines a light on the perceived unfairness of relegating Mayfield last year.
Just a few stats on their recent existence.
They reached the county final in 2015, since then they have made the quarter-finals on three occasions and they have recorded 12 championship wins since 2014. In 2020, prior to lockdown, they had defeated Mitchelstown and Bantry and as consequence were sitting top of Division Four.
As a dual club, they played eight matches in eight weeks with little or any preparatory work not to mention the high number that found themselves on the injured list.
Of course, you could make the point that other relegated teams were in a similar situation, which may be true but all of those were relegated down to competitions organised by the county board. In Mayfield’s case, they were outsourced to the Seandán administration.
I honestly think, that Mayfield situation is unfair but I doubt that they will storm the capitol building in PUC, instead, they will get on with what is now an even more challenging task of keeping Gaelic football viable.
I wish them well.
Now to this week’s inspiring Kerryman, prior to Christmas when Tomás Ó Sé was appointed as manager of Glanmire intermediate football team, the news gained some media traction.
Obviously all good but from this corner’s point of view, it presented another reflection moment, which concluded with a thought that at adult level, over the past number of years, this East Cork club could very well be charged with dereliction of its obligations to the big ball game.
Are we being too harsh?
In 1981 and 1985, they were only one victory away from becoming a senior club, their county intermediate football final victory in 1987 achieved that.m A year later they reached the senior semi-final before losing to Nemo.
But 13 years on, their demise necessitated a club decision to relegate which a few years later appeared to show dividends. In 2006 they lost to Carbery Rangers and 12 months on, they again came agonisingly close to senior status before losing to St Vincent’s.
Since then and despite reasonable success at underage level, they have been on a downward slope.
That descent is well mirrored in the fact that in 2010, 2018 and 2020, they were saved by victories in relegation finals. In the 2020 season, they defeated the aforementioned injury-struck Mayfield side and had they lost that, their existence as a proper football club would probably have been in serious doubt.
It would have meant playing junior football in the Imokilly division... they might as well have relocated to Kilkenny!
Sometime last year, this scribbler encountered a talented East Cork carpenter from a club very much noted for its hurling prowess. I noticed when he was placing his work tools in the booth of his car, that he was in possession of a bag of Gaelic footballs.
Honestly, two thoughts flashed across the vacant space. He was either operating a black market football business or had undergone 'Gaelic football conversion therapy'.
Anyway, it transpired that he had reached the lofty heights of being in charge of his club’s U16 football team. He also made it quite clear that the vast majority of clubs in the division, his own included had little or no interest in promoting the big ball game.
Back to Glanmire, a further indication of where they stand in Cork’s Gaelic football rankings, at the recent well-organised 2021 championship draws they were in effect graded 51st of 52, the last posting reserved for the winners of yet to be played 2020 junior football championship.
As mentioned earlier, the club has by in large operated at the Premier 1 and Premier 2 level at underage, therefore in the top eight or 16 clubs each season, so the question has to be asked as to why their adult team is not performing better.
Many players who have been members of some of these successful underage teams are still operating at adult level but with the sister club Sars, who by all accounts have little difficulty fielding five adult teams.
The term sister club may need a little redefining, in this case, to reflect the level of co-operation if any that exists between these two Gaelic games providers for a population that is not far off 20,000.
Hopefully, the appointment of Tomás will be the catalyst to improving the fortunes of this very urban East Cork club.
The viewing brief is fully in place!
- Twitter: @paudiep