NEW Killeagh hurling manager Brian Barry is preparing his side for an exciting new GAA season.
His side are pitted against Fr O'Neill's, Newcestown and Cloyne in the forthcoming Co Op Superstores County Senior A HC, a tough group C, as they aim to improve their form from last year. They survived a dramatic high-scoring relegation match to edge out Kilworth in 2020.
"We are very familiar with Cloyne and Newcestown as we all played one another last year and of course we all know about Fr O'Neill's. We know what's ahead and there is no doubting the challenges that these games present.
"Killeagh haven't enjoyed a championship win in a long time, so our focus is very much on ourselves to see if we can improve that run of results. With regard to last year, getting over the line against Kilworth was a huge relief to us.
"Like any club, we want to be competing against the best. The most positive thing for us is that we played really well against Kilworth at the end of the season.
"I suppose you could say that we are unlucky in that apart from the challenge that Newcestown and Cloyne will provide, we all have to play Fr O'Neill's. They obviously have been really on an upward curve over the past number of years.
"They are one of the best teams in the grade without a doubt. There has been a good buzz in our camp since we returned and everybody is looking forward to the upcoming league games."
Douglas, Ballymartlke and Kanturk will test the early season credentials of Brian Barry's side in upcoming League Cup. Killeagh will also be without a few players who have been regulars in recent seasons, with Sean Long, Kevin Murphy, Christy Coughlan, Killian Treacy, Dan Landers and Andy Walsh all unavailable, while Jamie Fogarty and George Walsh are amongst the new young players who have moved into the squad.
Elsewhere, Killeagh will have two teams involved at junior level in the forthcoming East Cork leagues, which commence on June 13.
In group 2, the club's second selection begin their campaign away to Fr O'Neill's. Games with Carraig na bhFear, St Ita's and Midleton will follow.
Meantime, in group 5 Killeagh, who start their campaign against Sarsfields on the same weekend, will engage Erin's Own, Midleton and Castlemartyr in the weeks following that opener.
Finally, in junior football, Glenbower Rovers have Fr O'Neill's as visitors in their first fixture on June 7.