THERE is no question that Éire Óg GAA club has grown significantly in recent years.
They've gone from 2008 when the Ovens-based club secured the Cork County Junior A Football title, to competing at the highest level of club football in the Premier Senior grade: an impressive climb.
Éire Óg lifted the PIFC title in 2019 and the delayed 2020 SAFC crown last June.
On top of what is an already talented squad and one full of potential, Éire Óg also have bolstered their ranks through the new addition of Kerry All-Ireland winner Mark Griffin.
“We can’t wait for it now,” said Éire Óg manager Harry O’Reilly looking ahead to the 2022 Cork PSFC Championship.
“I started back with them in 2014 and we won the Intermediate. Then to go on and win Premier Intermediate and Senior A, it has been brilliant.
“It’s been just beyond our dreams really. We are lucky that we have a fantastic bunch of players there at the moment, that are very dedicated and want to improve.
“They want to play at the top level and mix it with the best of them. We have Paudie Kissane looking after the coaching and the strength & conditioning training end of it as well.
“We are happy with where we are at the moment. But another step up now to try and make further progress in the Premier Senior this year.”
O’Reilly has been at the helm for what has been a period of significant progress in Éire Óg and it is clear he is enjoying his role as the manager of the seniors.
“I love it and really enjoy it. I got involved in 2014 first of all and we won an Intermediate Championship then.
“But the team has changed a lot since then. You still have stalwarts like Kevin Hallissey and Dermot O’Herlihy and Daniel Goulding.
“Apart from that, the team has changed completely really. We had a successful minor team in 2017 and they have formed the basis of our senior team now.
“So they are bringing plenty of top-level experience to the group as well.
“We also had Mark Griffin join us from Kerry this year as well, which was a big acquisition to get, a man with an All-Ireland medal for Kerry and a great influence in the dressing room and on the training pitch."
The 2022 Cork PSFC sees them pitted in a group alongside Carbery Rangers, Carrigaline and the current Cork and Munster champions St Finbarr’s.
Éire Óg saw their maiden campaign at the Premier Senior grade in Cork ended at the quarter-final stages by the Barrs.
Looking ahead to the 2022 Cork PSFC from an Éire Óg point of view, O’Reilly is hoping for another progressive campaign.
“We’d have a lot of confidence in our own ability, we think we are up there with the top teams in the Championship.
“But the way the Championship is structured, it’s difficult and you have to come out of your group before you can start talking about doing anything else.
“We have a difficult group. We have the Barrs first up, then we have Carbery Rangers and Carrigaline, two tough Senior teams.
“So we can’t be getting ahead of ourselves or anything like that. The ambition would be to come out of the group, take it game by game after that and progress as far as possible.
The next number of months will be used by this talented Éire Óg to sharpen up ahead of the Championship duels which lie ahead later on in the summer.
Harry O’Reilly and Éire Óg are hoping to kick on and progress in the 2022 Cork PSFC. With the playing squad they have, there is every chance that they can more than hold their own at the top table of Cork club football over this campaign ahead.