Randal Óg chasing hurling success

Ballinacarriga club won two junior A football titles in 2021
Randal Óg chasing hurling success

Munster Junior B Football Final 2021: Randal Og, Cork, celebrating winning the Munster Junior B Football Final 2021 in Knockaderry, County Limerick

THE Cork County Board's annual convention for 1984 was held on Saturday, January 28 of that year.

Bishopstown’s motion seeking to extend the ‘sitting out’ period for players seeking transfers from one year to two was passed, but St Finbarr’s were unsuccessful in looking to decouple hurling from football when it came to sendings-off.

The other main motion of note that evening came from Randal Óg in West Cork, who proposed that county junior B championships be inaugurated. While there was some opposition from delegates who pointed out that divisions ran their B championships on differing bases, chairperson Derry Gowen recommended that it be agreed to in principle.

Over the course of nearly four decades, the competitions have proven to be a success and Randals benefited to the tune of county hurling titles in 1992 and 2000. 

Then, in the 2021 season, of four available finals – county-wide and inter-divisional championships in each code – they reached three, winning a football double.

Unfortunately for the Ballinacarriga outfit, they lost to Belgooly in the county-wide hurling (restricted to clubs who do not operate at a higher level), but they have made it back to the 2022 decider, against Freemount in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday (3pm).

Coaching Randals this year is Ballinascarthy’s Jerry Ryan, a member of the Carbery side that won the 1994 SHC and a Cork selector under Denis Walsh. 

The Carbery senior camogie team and his native club have also benefited from his expertise over the years.

“To be asked in its own right is a bit of a compliment to you,” he says.

 “It shows that somebody out there still has an interest in you.

“You put a bit of thought into it and see what they have and what they might do.

“Ger Collins is the manager and he asked me, I’d have known him from being involved with Carbery a number of years ago.” 

Overall, he has been pleased with what he has seen at his new posting.

“They’re unbelievable, really,” Ryan says, “because of the numbers they have and how they work to get fellas out.

“There are no airs or graces about them, no egos there. They’re a nice bunch to deal with and to be involved with.

“There are guys who play football for Clann na nGael and Tadhg Mac Cárthaighs. It has kind of grown and we have a few fellas coming back from injury – they probably won’t be back for this weekend but they’re back training – and we have guys back from college.

“That has boosted numbers by half a dozen at least and we have the same core of fellas playing hurling and football.

“Last year, they played two years’ worth of championships and they’ve gone to a lot of finals but they’ve had no break. 

"When you’re training them, you’re trying to mind them because you don’t want to overdo it.” 

After winning the football last year, Randals earned the right to compete in the Munster JBFC and, while they won that with a final replay victory over Limerick’s Granagh-Ballingarry, the campaign ran on into May after the game was initially drawn in late March.

Taking on O’Donovan Rossa in the opening round of the county JBHC just a week later, they fell to defeat but availed of the back door to see off Laochra Óg and Lough Rovers to reach the semi-finals, where they beat Ballyclough.

“We lost the first match to Skibb by a goal and we deservedly lost it, they were better than us,” Ryan says.

“Then we went into the back door and the first day we played we had only three subs; then the second day we had only two and one of them was a sub goalkeeper! Numbers have grown again since then.

“Still, we know Saturday will be a huge challenge. Skibbereen beat us and Gabriels beat Skibb, then Freemount beat Gabriels by eight points.

“Dermot O’Riordan from Mallow is involved with them and I know what a strong operator he is from his time with Ballinascarthy.

“They’ll be the favourites but we’ll going out to do our best.”

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