FOR players such as Brian Cronin, this is a very special period to be lining out and playing football in the Iveleary colours.
The Iveleary juggernaut has been rolling in recent times and they are determined to keep on going.
“This is everything we all wanted really, to be up in intermediate,” Cronin told The Echo.
“The junior county was something we were knocking on the door of for a long time. To win that was great.
“Now to be playing in the Intermediate Championship for the first time in the club’s history is brilliant.
I have been playing since I was 16 and we had a lot of times where we weren’t really even knocking on the door of even a Mid Cork title.
“So to be playing intermediate football now is nearly a bit of a dream really.”
Having defeated St Finbarr’s in their opening game in the IAFC, they followed up with another fantastic win over Millstreet, a game which saw Iveleary score an impressive 0-25.
Iveleary will face Kinsale in their final group game, with the Mid Cork team already having booked their place in the knockout stages.
Fresh from winning the Cork JAFC decider, Cronin is very satisfied with how Iveleary have adapted to life at intermediate level.
“We are delighted. We went straight into it and confidence was high. We played two good teams. The Barrs' second team were very athletic and Millstreet have been there a long time knocking on the door in that grade as well, with some very good players in with Cork.
“So to get two wins out of two and to be through with a game to spare; that is everything we aimed for when we sat down to talk about our aims for the intermediate grade.
“But we are not getting ahead of ourselves either. We are not at intermediate to take a look at it really; we are going to try and win it, but we are under no illusions whatsoever. There are some very good teams in the grade, like Mitchelstown, Aghabullogue, and Gabriel Rangers.
“You have teams that have won the junior county, like Dromtarriffe and Kilshannig; they are all in the grade longer than us.
“We are going to try and win it, but we are taking each game as it comes really. Every game at this time of the year is going to become a dogfight and a battle.”
Iveleary have assembled a good group of players and there is a strong sense of unity among the group.
There is a decent mix of youth and experience, while it also helps to have players of the quality of Chris Óg Jones and Cathal Vaughan slotting over the scores.
Cronin described how there is a real togetherness among this Iveleary group:
“We are very together. Everything we do we try to do together.
We try not to take things too seriously as well, to make sure that people are enjoying it, that training and matches don’t seem like a chore.
“I think it is important that the people who don’t get to play in the games are enjoying it too.
“If you can make it enjoyable, you get good crowds training. If you are enjoying your football I think you have a good chance of success really.”
The Iveleary management and backroom team have done great work with this group of players, with John McNulty the man currently at the helm along with selectors John O’Callaghan, Don Murphy, and Dan Kelleher.
“The management are brilliant,” Cronin adds.
“I was fortunate enough to play with the management in their later stages and my early playing stages. John McNulty is a brilliant communicator.
“With the selectors, they have all played the game and understand the importance of keeping the group together and happy.
“They create that environment for us and they drive it all from the start.”