PRIOR to this year, Seandún hadn’t competed in the county SHC since 2010 and one had to go back to 2003 for the last win, a 4-11 to 2-15 triumph over Carbery.
Having decided to re-enter, the city divisional side received a bye in the opening stage of the divisions and colleges section of the Co-op SuperStores Premier SHC, facing a Muskerry team that had already beaten Duhallow. The lack of match practice was no impediment though, as a 3-17 to 0-16 win in late July sent them forward to the second stage.
Another bye there saw them advance to Sunday evening’s play-off final, with Imokilly’s win over UCC on Tuesday earning them the other spot.
Seandún manager Paul McCarthy is the man who set the ball rolling for their return.
“I’m from the Barrs, obviously, but I’d have known the lads involved and I phoned the board last October and asked if they’d consider entering a team if I got one together,” he says.
“I contacted Nicky [Kelly] and Cian Mac [McCarthy] and a few others and they all said they’d go for it if things were done right. We put a structure in as best we could – like any divisions, we’re hampered in terms of preparation but, off the field, we’re organised as best we can.
“We’ve 11 in the backroom team. Ray Lucey, our logistics man, is from Passage but he lives in Ballyhaunis in Mayo and he drives down. If you want something badly enough, you do it.
“Justin’s on everyone’s lips with Seandún but he’d tell you this himself, he’s just a cog in the wheel. We’ve Ken St Leger and Mark Prendergast as coaches and Gordon Ahern and John O’Callaghan are selectors along with myself. We’re all doing a job and we’re all in it as one.
“The players have shown massive courage and honesty to do their absolute best for the city division against all odds and they deserve massive respect for that. They’ve put in the work from day one last October.
“Nobody expected us to get this far but we’re delighted to be going to Páirc Uí Rinn to take on one of the big guns.”
While divisional sides can be hard to run, Seandún benefited from a strong uptake.
“The buy-in was there from every player,” McCarthy says.
“We’d 74 players in the WhatsApp at one stage, they all wanted to play. I think we’re down to around 54 now and we’ve a couple of injuries but every team has those.
“That’s why we built a big panel, so we could draw on fellas. The interest was there, it was a case of going to club matches and talking to fellas.
“It was hard work but we’re not afraid of that.”
Of course, since the commencement of the club championship competitions at the start of last month, opportunities for divisional teams have been less plentiful but McCarthy is satisfied that the work being done by his players is of a high quality.
“It’s over two months since we played Muskerry and, to be honest, we haven’t met since,” he says.
“Fellas were working hard away from us and we were still staying together off the field, keeping everyone involved and positive.”
They will of course be outsiders on Sunday evening, against an Imokilly side still featuring many of the players that helped them to win the title in 2017, 2018 and 2019. McCarthy is looking forward to the challenge, though.
“I like to turn things on a positive side,” he says.
“We have fellas on our team that have All-Ireland U17, U20 and intermediate medals, All-Ireland club medals. These fellas are well able to play.
“We’re up against it, of course, and that’s the case any time you go out and play Imokilly. It’ll be hard as we have 17 panel members involved in city division games over the weekend, even some on Sunday morning.
“We’re waiting to see if they all come through that. It’s extra-hard but we’ll give it our best shot.”