Cobh target East Cork junior double after football breakthrough

Cobh haven't landed an East Cork Junior A Hurling since 1985 but are a win away from returning to the final after already lifting the football crown
Cobh target East Cork junior double after football breakthrough

Adam McCarthy, captain of the Cobh Junior A footballers, receives the Jim Ryan Memorial Cup from Donal O'Keeffe, chairman of Imokilly GAA.

AFTER securing their first Junior A football title in 34 years, Cobh are eyeing up a double in East Cork as they look forward to the hurling semi-final.

The club's fortunes had dipped for a number of years, but sustained work at juvenile level is certainly bearing fruit.

Cobh will meet Midleton on Sunday in the penultimate round of the East Cork Oil JAHC after topping their group and earning the right to take the shortest path to the last four. Meantime, following their win over Castlemartyr in the recent Michael O'Connor Motor Factors JAFC decider, a county quarter-final awaits in a few weeks against new Duhallow champions Cullen.

Recent disappointments included two defeats in the divisional football final but they put a Trojan effort to cross the line this time.

Cobh manager and former player Declan O'Connell reflected: "Thirty four years is a very long time, so we had a lot of boxes to tick. Castelmartyr threw everything they had at us in the second half, but we played to the system and all the guys listened to the coaching staff. 

"There are big numbers training all year and there is fierce competition for places. Over the past few years when I've been involved we have brought in a number of people that are really interested in Cobh football. We have had specific coaches for specific areas in Eric Branningan and Cian Shealy."

Losing is a tough lesson and we learned a lot from our final defeats to Erin's Own in 2019 and the loss to Bride Rovers last year. 

"We tried to bring it forward and this year is the culmination of that hurt. It's only our second final win since the 1960s the monkey of the long wait without a win is now off our back. 

It's now a case of really looking forward to the county championship and seeing how it goes."

Man of the Match Sean Hilliard says he was just in the right place at the right time to get his three goals, the third of which early in the second half killed the game a contest. 

"This year has been special so far. There has been a great bond between the players. The group has been around for nearly four years, with a lot of people working behind the scenes. It's unbelievable to have won an East Cork medal."

So before the footballers tog out against Cullen, the spotlight will shine on the club's hurlers.

John O'Keeffe, long-serving club administrator, has a firm foot in both camps as a dual selector. 

"It's just all about working together, with a give and take policy either way, we have 12 doubly involved so constant communication is the key. We enjoyed the football success and celebrated in style, but were back hurling training again on Tuesday. The feel-good factor is obviously great in the camp and the momentum of winning is huge."

Cobh's last junior hurling outright success was back in 1985, which was their third title and their first in 26 years. Now the gap stands at 37 years, their only subsequent final appearance was the loss to Castlemartyr in Caherlag eight years ago. 

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