CARRIGDHOUN manager Declan O’Neill felt that his side’s extra-time win over Muskerry showed what it meant for divisions to be involved in the Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC.
The south-east side came out on top by a point, 0-23 to 1-19, in a game that ebbed and flowed throughout. Free-taker Brian Kelleher finished with 13 points for Carrigdhoun, who saw a four-point half-time lead turn into a four-point deficit before the three-quarter mark but they refused to relent and were ultimately rewarded.
“It was a fantastic game, a cliff-hanger,” he said.
“For us, I’m over the moon because we had such a young team out. There is a place for the divisions and Tuesday night was a perfect example of it.
“Conditions were very greasy but, in fairness to both teams, the hurling was absolutely excellent.”
This was the first time that Carrigdhoun had entered the championship since 2019 when their sole outing was a loss to a rampant Imokilly. In the time since it has not got any easier to try to get a side out.
“It’s a huge challenge,” O’Neill said. "Our secretary, Tomás O’Sullivan, emailed every club earlier in the year to know if they were willing to get involved with Carrigdhoun and to give us players.
“We decided late in the day. The officers had a chat and we decided that there were young players in the division who wanted to progress and we felt we were duty-bound to look after them and help them to play at the highest level that they could.”
Carrigdhoun are now through to the semi-final of the preliminary stage of the divisions/colleges section and they will look to continue their good work. Ultimately, providing that outlet is the key driving factor and O’Neill feels that players benefit from it.
“It means an awful lot to players,” he said.
“To give an example, we had players on Tuesday from Belgooly – there were four of them had game-time and who would have thought, five years ago, that there would be four Belgooly players playing with Carrigdhoun? It’s a testament to the work being done by the clubs in our division.
“We’re playing in three weeks’ time and we’ll strengthen our panel now again – we had a panel of 28 but we had only 20 on Tuesday night due to injuries and holidays and things.
“We’ll go on from here – one swallow didn’t make a summer. The door is open to everyone.”