GLEN ROVERS’ 2023 campaign started with a win last weekend as the Blackpool side defeated hosts Ballincollig in the opening game of the RedFM Division 2 hurling league campaign on a scoreline of 0-22 to 2-10.
It was a solid start to the year as they were without their big-name Cork hurlers, Patrick Horgan, Rob and Eoin Downey, but showed enough experience and class to pull away coming down the stretch.
The Glen are under familiar guidance in Richie Kelleher, back at the helm again, with Cork’s 1990 All-Ireland hurling captain Tomás Mulcahy part of the management team.
Kelleher stepped down from the post at the end of the 2020 season having guided the City club to county glory in 2015, their first in 26 years, before retaining it in 2016.
Reflecting on a hard-fought game against Ballincollig, Kelleher was pleased to start the season with two league points.
“Great start, delighted with the win. We brought on a few youngsters towards the end and we are pleased with how they did.
“There are a lot of things we wouldn’t be happy with, but it’s the first game of the season and we got the two points which was the objective.
“Coming out to Ballincollig was always going to be a tough game, and they certainly put it up to us for the majority of the game.
It was a good game of hurling, massive crowd, great to see for this time of year.”
The Glen face Newtownshandrum at home in their next league game on St Patrick’s Day, with an 11.30am throw-in and Kelleher knows it will be a big challenge.
“It will be a huge test for us, they beat us in championship last year.
The performance is number one and the result will take care of itself.”
Ballincollig, despite the defeat can take a lot of positives from the game against a team two grades above them.
The Village are also under a familiar name in 2023, with Danny Dwyer back in charge for a fourth time, having guided the Muskerry team to IHC glory in 2018.
Dwyer, who has his brother John coaching the team this season, was happy enough with the performance.
“We played quite well for the most part, level with 15 minutes to go, but just lost our way in the last quarter.
“The Glen were just that little bit sharper than us, their thought process was a small bit better than ours, but look overall it’s a positive enough start.”
Ballincollig are at home again in their next league outing against Bride Rovers, under the lights Thursday at 8pm, where they’ll again be without Cork U20s James Dwyer, Tadhg O’Connell and Brian Keating.
No easy game for the Village, with the Collig the only Premier Intermediate club in the league.
“We are playing senior clubs in the league this year, these are the games you want. I think these games will stand to us big time."