Carbery hoping to make a bigger impact on the senior football championship in 2023

Divisional side pushed Ballincollig all the way in this season's Premier SFC quarter-final
Carbery hoping to make a bigger impact on the senior football championship in 2023

Rouirí Hourihan for Carbery is tackled by Duhallow's Kevin Cremin. Picture: Denis Boyle

CARBERY want to build on a terrific season and make an even bigger impact in next year’s Bon Secours Cork PSFC Divisions/Colleges section and knockout stages.

Tim Buckley and his backroom team oversaw a superb run of results by the Western Division in the top tier of last year’s football championship.

Five consecutive victories over Imokilly, Beara, Avondhu, UCC and Duhallow saw Carbery deservedly win the Premier Senior championship’s Divisions/Colleges section.

Ballincollig ended Buckley’s side’s interest in the Cork PSFC at the quarter-finals stage following a 4-11 to 1-15 defeat.

That Ballincollig loss should not detract from one of Carbery’s best ever returns in the Cork PSFC during 2022.

Utilising a large panel of players, blooding a host of youthful newcomers and producing an attractive brand of football means Tim Buckley and Carbery delivered on and off the pitch.

“Heading into this year I was consistent in saying that all Carbery needed was one win,” Buckley commented.

“There is a huge amount of preparation and organisation involved. No different for the players who to have to organise their schedules. 

If a player doesn’t see tangible rewards then it is very difficult for them to tog out for any team, including a divisional one.

“That’s why winning our first championship game was key for us. I always felt that if we won one game, the floodgates would open.

“That was the most satisfying aspect, going out and winning that first day against Imokilly because we had been so unlucky the previous four years. Everything snowballed from there.” Perhaps most importantly of all, the pride is back in the famous purple and gold Carbery GAA jersey.

Buckley, subject to his divisional board’s ratification, and his players will return and have every reason to look forward to 2023 with renewed optimism.

Colm O'Driscoll battles Duhallow's Darragh Cashman. Picture: Denis Boyle
Colm O'Driscoll battles Duhallow's Darragh Cashman. Picture: Denis Boyle

The West Cork division’s senior football profile has been raised but so too have expectations.

Next year will bring the added bonus of a Divisions/Colleges semi-final seeding. That means Carbery will not have the advantage of at least three group games as they did this past season.

Commitment to the cause is unlikely to waiver as a rejuvenated management team and panel go in search of glory once again.

“I honestly believe that hard work beats ingenuity and that’s the easiest thing for me to control,” Buckley added.

BOND

“I had five lads willing to jump into their cars every weekend and drive all over the county to watch matches. As a division, we watched our players and met up with them every week. That helped form a bond within our setup.

“We kept driving that message home to our players. We will be guided by you, whatever they wanted to do, we’d do.

“By the time we faced Imokilly on June 9th in our first game, there were 25 or 26 togged out. The key thing was, we had been talking to those players in the build-up and met up eight or nine times before a (competitive) ball was kicked.

“Everything was familiar to the players and that’s what made a difference. When all else fails, if you have put in the hard yards, it means you have done all the work you can.

“After that, if things don’t work out, you know that you have done all you can. That really was the common denominator. Everyone went that extra mile. Management took every bit of pressure that we could off of the players.” 

So successful was Carbery’s season that one of their standout players, Tadhg Mac Carthaigh’s Brian O’Driscoll, was the solitary divisional player to make the 2022 Rearden’s Premier SFC All-Star Team of the Year.

“From Carbery’s point of view, it is a perfect litmus test when a fella like Brian excels whenever he pulls on the Carbery jersey,” admitted Tim Buckley.

“I’d have a small bee in my bonnet in that I think one or two more of our lads should have been on that All-Star team, just my opinion!

“Maybe in time, if we have another year like we just had, then other guys will get recognition as well.

Brian O’Driscoll is a very focused and driven individual. Some of the stuff that he has done for us, in previous years too, it didn’t all happen overnight, to further his own game has been phenomenal.

“Brian is very coachable, no matter who he speaks to, he takes it all in. It was great to see him make that All-Star team and a fitting reward that he got called up by the Cork seniors as well.”

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