Tony Considine: Can Douglas turn talent into a challenge for hurling glory?

Alan and Eoin Cadogan, Shane Kingston and Brian Turnbull are some of their star players, but they need more to back up these lads, and they also need more consistency...
Tony Considine: Can Douglas turn talent into a challenge for hurling glory?

The Douglas hurlers have plenty of talent in their ranks but have struggled to land the big prize in Cork. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THE inter-county scene is over and now we're into the real bread and butter of hurling. 

All the good wine was served first this year and, this is no insult to any club, but I always believed that the good wine should be kept till last. For some reason the GAA authorities did not look at it that way. 

The main act was on first this time and the supporting act is coming up now. Very confusing, to me anyway, because we all know club and the inter-county scene are very different. 

Hopefully in the future someone will see the sense in playing the supporting act first, and giving us a big appetite for the main event. Maybe Croke Park will have a serious look at this in the future and try and come up with the right answer.

The biggest GAA club scene in the country is Cork. 

Cork have two grades of senior hurling, the Premier championship, which will produce the county champions, and the A grade, which is a secondary competition. In my opinion all senior teams in the county should be able to play for the big prize because that is what senior hurling is all about and every senior club should have a chance to partake. 

I would say that is the ambition of every club and I am surprised that senior clubs are not pushing hard for this, not alone in Cork but in a few other counties as well. That is what senior hurling should be, every team equally getting a chance in the main event and then run off a secondary competition for the losers. 

I'm surprised clubs accept it this way.

The Cork championship was always attractive in years gone by, a lot of people going to Cork games from all over the country. There used to be fantastic rivalry and some brilliant battles, especially with the Cork city clubs. 

No place for the faint-hearted in those days, some of these club games were nearly as good as some county games, and why wouldn't they, with all the quality players playing for each club, and all that intense rivalry. 

You would want to be in your full health watching it, not to mind playing in it!

Of course, that was when the Cork inter-county dominated. Those days seem to have disappeared now.

Rivalry is still there, but it is not as intense as before. Is that because some of the city clubs have gone back a bit in the last number of years? Or is it because the county team are not doing as well as they should be?

As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. Maybe that will happen in the next few years.

PREDICTIONS

Anyway to this year's championship. The teams that are fancied to do well, a few of them are meeting each other this weekend. 

Midleton and Douglas should be a very interesting tie. Midleton are champions and have a lot of young players in their team. And of course, the man that led them so well last year, Conor Lehane, who was so good he was recalled to the Cork panel. They will need him at his best again this year. 

Also guys like Sean O'Leary-Hayes, Tommy O'Connell and Sam Quirke, and one of their star players from last year, Cormac Beausang. Midleton will hope that these players will be in top form, as they will need them to produce the same as they did last year. 

The team they are playing this weekend has some very good talent as well, but you would have to say Douglas are also one of the great underachievers, not getting the results they so badly need. 

The Cadogans, Shane Kingston, and Brian Turnbull are some of their star players, but they need more to back up these lads, and they also need more consistency. 

 Alan Cadogan demonstrates techniques at the Hurling Academy Camp at Douglas GAA in June. Picture: Larry Cummins
Alan Cadogan demonstrates techniques at the Hurling Academy Camp at Douglas GAA in June. Picture: Larry Cummins

If they can do that they will be in the running. This should be a cracking game between two good teams, with Midleton slightly favourites.

Another great game this weekend should be Sarsfields and Blackrock. Blackrock won the championship a few years ago, but had a disappointing year last year. I'm sure they are all out to make up for that this year. 

They have a lot of young talent in their squad, and with guys like the two Cashmans, Michael O'Halloran and Cork player, Alan Connelly, these are the leaders of their team. The Rockies will need them to produce their best form. 

 Alan Connolly, Blackrock, in action against the Barrs last season. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Alan Connolly, Blackrock, in action against the Barrs last season. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Sars were another team disappointed to get knocked out last year, and they are also a team with experienced players like Conor O'Sullivan, Danial Kearney and young players like Aaron Myers and the Cork player Jack O'Connor, and also a new recruit, Shane O'Regan, a big addition.

This should be a great contest, should be fairly hard-hitting, two big athletic teams going all out to get a good start in this Group of Death.

These two games should get the championship off to a good start, with a good bit of bite to both.

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