THERE was so much to be positive about for Castlelyons in last season’s Co-Op Superstores County Premier Hurling Championship.
They topped their group, posting 7-59 in the process and their subsequent win over Courcey Rovers in the semi-final made it four victories in a row for a team that had struggled to get any real consistent championship form for a few seasons.
However, in the big rematch against Blarney in the County Final the East Cork side never really settled to their task and in the end, Blarney were very deserving winners.
Now a new season is dawning, Team manager Ciarán McGann is relishing the opportunity to prepare his charges again as they face up to group games against Watergrasshill, Inniscarra and Valley Rovers.
Coach Johnny Crowley and last season’s selectors Peter Murphy and Sean Kenny are all on board as the quest for outright success begins.
Team manager McGann offers the following assessment on his upcoming opponents.
We played Watergrasshill in adult, U21 and minor games down through the years and there has never been much between the sides in what is a local derby.
“They also had a strong group campaign last season but lost to Courcey Rovers in the quarter-finals.
“We beat Inniscarra last year, but the summer before that they put us to the sword and knocked us out of the championship.
“Again close games have been the norm between the teams. As for Valley Rovers, given their football background, you never get anything easy from them, they are a bit of an unknown quantity.
“Realistically if you win two games it gets a team through, so sides have that cushion to press the reset button if they slip up. We will just take each game as it comes.”
So close and yet so far at the end of 2020, he accepts lessons have been learned.
“Colm Spillane’s injury was well documented but being honest apart from that we did not perform to the level we wanted.
“David Morrisson, who had been very good for us in the group games, unfortunately, broke his wrist and he was also a considerable loss.
“When you take out two of your main scoring threats, their absence was always going to be felt.
That said the better team won on the night - Blarney learned an awful lot in defeat from the game against us earlier in the season - but I think we too have learned a lot in defeat.
“Hopefully it can be put to good use this season.”