Munster Senior League: Casement Celtic ready for the next step

Despite lifting a trophy last season the southside club have no intention of resting on their laurels
Munster Senior League: Casement Celtic ready for the next step

Niall Kennedy, in action for Casement Celtic, against Thomas Murphy, Douglas Hall Athletic. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THE countdown is on for the beginning of the Munster Senior League season and the players and management are eager to get started.

I recently caught up with Casement junior manager James Corcoran who is excited and positive about the campaign ahead with the club entering three adult teams for the first time in years.

“I honestly can’t wait to get back into it, it’s been nice to have the time off but you would miss it when it’s not in your life,” said Corcoran.

“With the season going on longer than expected last season, obviously the break was shorter and while everybody needed some bit of a break, I think everyone is looking forward to getting back on the pitch and getting some routine back into their lives.

“There is a great buzz around the club at the moment as it’s great to have an extra team for the upcoming season.”

Winning the third division last season was a huge boost for Corcoran and the rest of the club. The success, he believes, has attracted more players to the club this season.

“We enjoyed major success in our first full season as a junior team by winning the MSL junior third division last season.

“It brought great joy to the club and I believe it was the foundation to build for the coming season.

HARD WORK

“While last year’s success was great, we know the hard work is still to come. We are gradually progressing to the level we want to be at, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work and effort to get back playing in the top tier of football.

“But the work ethic from the lads is evident through pre-season and I hope now they can take that form into the season.

“It’s great that the club is able to add in a second junior team under the guidance of Jim Haines, Martin Hurley, and Mick Delea.

Casement Celtic players celebrate with the Beamish Stout Junior Third Division trophy.
Casement Celtic players celebrate with the Beamish Stout Junior Third Division trophy.

“They have built a strong side and no doubt will be looking forward to the start of the season also.

“There is a lot of talent around the area and interest has grown massively in recent years so it is great for our club to be able to facilitate the players in our community and have as many players as possible play the game.

“We have yet to be given the date when we start, but we are due to face the winners of St Mary’s-Ballinhassig in the Beamish Stout Centenary Junior Cup and that is a game we are focusing on at the moment.

After seeing the league entries this week, I am expecting this to be a very open league where I believe there will at least four of five sides including ourselves capable of challenging for the title.

“Last year we had a very young squad who grew in stature throughout the season, but I felt for us to go to that next level we needed to add experience to the talent we had.

“We are lucky enough to have added in some fabulous players for this season such as Paul Mullins from Blarney, Davey O’Connell from Pearse, and Sean Moynihan from Douglas Hall all of whom have won a lot between them and they will certainly help the younger lads. We lost a few lads, but we were able to replace them with quality players.

DEPTH

“With the strength in depth in the squad, I am hoping that we are there or thereabouts when it comes to the business end of the season. I have fierce belief in this squad and I know when they set their mind to things they can achieve a lot.

“Last year’s success has given them huge hunger to drive on this season.”

Like all teams and managers, having a good backroom staff is vital to the success of a team and for Corcoran, the support he has got from his experienced coaching staff has been key to attracting players this season.

“Eoghan Walsh is my assistant manager and has plenty of experience in working with a lot of teams such as Cork City and College Corinthians, he works with the team in strength and conditioning also.

“Pat Downey and Joey Cummins are coaches on the team and they have been around the block winning titles as players so they are there to lend advice to the guys when needed.

“Pre-season has been going great and everyone is so positive about working hard for the season ahead. There is a great bunch of lads and so am very excited about the season ahead.

“As a club it has been difficult when you don’t have an underage system. The club had great success at all levels back in the 1980s and 90s and you could say, depending on a number of things, we hope to be in or around that level success down the line.

“We have started major work in Casement Park and it is coming together nicely so hopefully this will attract some more interest at all teams.

“It’s a superb club to be part of. They continue to try develop the club in every way they can with trojan work being done on and off the pitch and long may that continue.”

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