Danny Dwyer returns to helm of Ballincollig hurlers to tap into young talent

Village compete at the top tier of underage and have reached the last four Premier 1 minor semi-finals
Danny Dwyer returns to helm of Ballincollig hurlers to tap into young talent

Ballincollig manager Danny Dwyer on the sideline against Midleton. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

DANNY Dwyer has been appointed Ballincollig hurling manager for the 2023 season. 

Dwyer guided the Muskerry team to IHC glory back in 2018, and two years later reached they PIHC quarter-final where Blarney’s late scoring spree denied the Village a semi-final spot. Dwyer stepped down at the end of the 2021 season after Ballincollig finished third in the group stage, ahead of Aghada, but behind Kilworth and Ballinhassig in what was a difficult group. 

After taking a year out, Dwyer is ready to go again. Danny’s brother John, who has plenty of experience including coaching Cork underage teams, will be coach.

This will be Dwyer’s fourth stint managing the top team in the Village, and there is no doubt the builder is looking forward to the challenge.

“I took a break last season having been in charge for five years, a relatively successful period in charge. It’s a good time for the club at the moment, exciting young talent and when the chairman had a chat with me a couple of weeks ago to see would I be interested in taking the job, it was an easy decision to make, to be honest. 

"I have freshened up the back-room team, it took a bit of time, but I feel I have the right lads involved with me on the sideline for the new season.” 

Terence O'Leary, Danny Dwyer, Michael O'Brien and John Dwyer oversaw Ballincollig's U21 county win in 2018. Picture: Mike English
Terence O'Leary, Danny Dwyer, Michael O'Brien and John Dwyer oversaw Ballincollig's U21 county win in 2018. Picture: Mike English

Dwyer takes over a largely young group of players, backboned by many that played a key role for their U21 hurlers last season, as they won the Muskerry championship for the first time since 2016.

“I was at the final against Blarney out in Ovens in November. It was a magnificent game of hurling for the time of year, hurling in Ballincollig needed that win. 

"The aim is to progress and mature as a group at the top level. There’s a good few of the players that played in the final, that weren’t involved with the Premier Intermediate team in 2022 and I am hopeful they will be involved in 2023, which will further strengthen the panel going forward.” 

Ballincollig will be playing in Division 2 of the league, the only Premier Intermediate club at that level, with defending PSHC winners St Finbarr’s, Midleton, Bishopstown, Newtownshandrum, Courcey Rovers, Mallow, Glen Rovers, Fermoy, Bride Rovers included. Dwyer though is unfazed.

The team did very well in the league last season, and it’s a great achievement to be in the second tier of the league, playing all senior teams will be a big challenge for our young team. 

"Every game will be very difficult, we will relish every game and give it everything. I would be hoping the games will stand to us ahead of the championship.” 

 Fenton Denny, Ballincollig, tackles Mike Kelly, Castlemartyr. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Fenton Denny, Ballincollig, tackles Mike Kelly, Castlemartyr. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Ballincollig have failed to get out of the championship group stages in the last two seasons, finishing third. The Village didn’t win either of the first two championship games in 2021 and 2022, with wins on the last day enough to avoid a potential relegation match in both campaigns. 

Newcomers Dungourney will be the first assignment for Ballincollig in the championship next August, and with Bandon and Castlelyons also in the group, Dwyer isn’t hiding away from the fact that the first game is absolutely huge, especially when the Collig haven’t won the first game in the hurling championship since beating Inniscarra’s second team back in 2017.

“Dungourney are in the same position as Castlemartyr were last season. They will still be on a high after winning the IAHC. It will be a tricky game, they have very good hurlers. 

"The second game is against Bandon, another huge game, they did well last season and ran Ballinhassig very close in the quarter-final. Castlelyons are our last game in the group, they have been knocking on the door with a long time, and will be difficult opposition. We will be putting a huge focus on the first game against Dungourney, It’s important to start well.” 

RIVALS

Ballincollig’s neighbours Inniscarra weren’t fancied at the start of the 2022 PIHC, but by the end of the season, they were the last ones standing, will Dwyer take inspiration from their Muskerry rivals?

“Absolutely, you could see Inniscarra’s togetherness and work rate, and that played a huge part in what they achieved and it’s something we want to replicate, as well as building our own identity. I can’t wait for the new season to start.”

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