Diarmuid Ó Mathúnas footballers hope to push on after Junior B joy

Small west Cork club now aim to compete at the Junior A tier in 2023
Diarmuid Ó Mathúnas footballers hope to push on after Junior B joy

Diarmuid Ó'Mathunas' joint captains Gearoid O'Donovan and Gavin O'Leary raise the trophy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

DIARMUID Ó MATHÚNAS are hoping to build on their recent success in the Cork Junior B football championship.

The Carbery divisional club which is based in the Castletown-Kenneigh and Coppeen area emerged county final champions after they defeated Fr O’Neill’s by seven points following a very strong team performance.

Diarmuid Ó Mathúna club chairperson John Paul O’Callaghan said it was an important victory as it will ‘boost’ morale within the club.

“It was a great achievement to win it. It is great to bring a county title back to the club and parish.

“It will help bring confidence and a winning mentality into the club. The club has won nothing over recent years, and it is important to achieve success to boost morale in the club,” he said.

Two goals from Patrick Crowley were pivotal in helping Ó Mathúnas win the Junior B county football championship for the third time in their history. The club chairperson said the management team had targeted county glory at the start of the season.

“It was great for our lads to win. At the start of the year, our confidence was very low after a few bad years and this county final success is a big boost.

“From a management point of view, it was a big target to win the county final, but the players and club personnel took each game as it came.

“Two players who made big contributions all year were James Crowley who missed out on the county final and Padraig O’Driscoll who broke his leg in the county final. The players did it for them.”

Diarmuid Ó'Mathunas' Patrick Crowley scores his late goal past Fr O'Neill's Podge Butler and David O'Reilly during the Bon Secours Cork JBFC final at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Diarmuid Ó'Mathunas' Patrick Crowley scores his late goal past Fr O'Neill's Podge Butler and David O'Reilly during the Bon Secours Cork JBFC final at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Diarmuid Ó Mathúnas were guided to county final glory by their coach Liam O’Reilly. John Paul paid tribute to the coach who brought the players to a ‘new level’.

“We brought in a new trainer, and he didn’t know the lads initially, but they made great progress as the year advanced. He did great work with the players and brought them to a new level.

“The whole country knows Liam. In fairness to him, he brought in a great structure and his coaching is second to none.

“It took the lads a bit of time to buy into it, but they bought into it big time. At the first training session, there were nine players there, but over the last six months we have never had less than 22 or 23 players at training sessions which is brilliant,” he added.

It was the first time in 10 years that Ó Mathúnas had won the Junior B county football championship. The victorious players and coaching team were met by a large crowd upon their arrival home that evening with the cup said the chairperson.

“There were great celebrations when we brought home the cup. It meant a lot to everyone involved with the club. There were lots of young supporters at the game and it is vital to keep winning to inspire the next generation.

The club had been in a bit of a lull and there had been no success. There was a great buzz in the parish in the run-up to the final and it is great to see all the flags still up. It has brought a new bit of life to the club.”

Ó Mathúnas will now be competing in the junior A football championship next season. John Paul is confident they will push on from this latest county final triumph.

“We should have the numbers alright. We have a panel of about 25. I am confident all the players will stay on and play once again next year. Our aim now is to build on this victory.

“We need to push on from this. We won this title back in 2012 and we didn’t really push on from it.

“The average age of this squad is around 25/26 and we have a couple of young lads coming through which is very promising. Please God Liam O’Reilly will be back once again next year. He might take a bit of convincing,” he added.

ENCOURAGED

Playing numbers remain a concern for the club which has a small catchment area. The club chairperson is however encouraged by the playing numbers coming through at underage level and the number of coaches helping in the club.

“From U8 to U12 level there is a huge bunch of players playing with the club which is very promising. They also have a good number of trainers working with them which is great.

“We are then joined with St Mary’s to play for Ahán Gaels from U14 level right up to U21 level as the numbers are tight. Realistically there are three clubs in the parish with St Mary’s and Oliver Plunkett’s. We always have one or two coming through every year but that is the most we would have.”

He is a very talented dual player for his beloved Mathúnas and is now enjoying his first year as chairperson.

“I am working away in the background doing my best for the club. We are hoping to do a bit of work on the pitch over the coming years to develop it a bit more. It is an experience, and I am learning as I go. We have a strong committee and I have great help. We are always looking for more people to get involved. It is all about delegating. The club is in a good place.”

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