Carbery Rangers hope influx of new players can sustain a strong challenge this summer

Rosscarbery outfit have lost three league games but they know they'll be judged on championship
Carbery Rangers hope influx of new players can sustain a strong challenge this summer

Daniel O’Callaghan, Clyda Rovers, fails to win this ball from Thomas O’Rourke, Carbery Rangers. Picture: Dan Linehan

CARBERY RANGERS enjoyed Cork county senior football success for the first time in 2016 when they beat Ballincollig by three points.

Since that title win, they have become a well-established side and are one of the big 12 at Premier Senior level. After a difficult year in 2021, which saw them narrowly escape the relegation play-off, the Rosscarbery club bounced back last year, and lost to eventual winners Nemo in the quarter-final.

Full-back Thomas O’Rourke heads into his second year as captain and discusses the feelings after last year’s campaign, and Rangers’s aimis for 2023.

“We were disappointed to go out, losing by a point. It was probably a good season overall; we got out of the group, which was one of our primary aims, and we had a solid league campaign,” he says.

“A lot of the lads developed further, and in general it was just a step in the right direction for us as a panel.

There was a lot of talk over the last few seasons about maybe going through a transition, whereas now I feel it has occurred.

“We’ve brought in a lot of new younger players from underage, who are now very well settled in at adult football. I wouldn’t really regard them as ‘younger players’ anymore,” says O’Rourke.

“They’re well used to the standard and what’s required. There are a lot of guys who have come in over the last year or two that are showing leadership and a lot of desire to do well for Carbery Rangers.”

Looking ahead to this season and the championship group Carbery Rangers have been drawn in, O’Rourke feels it’s a tough group, but one that they’ll relish being in.

“There are a few derbies in there, and three very strong teams who are all well-established at this stage.

“Castlehaven have been up at the top in terms of the last couple of seasons, they’re one of the best teams in Cork. Clonakilty were in the county final two years ago, and they’re a very strong team.

“Valley Rovers have been strong a long while, and you’ll never, ever get an easy game against them. They’re all west Cork teams, and I know everyone in Rosscarbery is looking forward to these games.

“It’s going to be a great challenge, and obviously getting out of the group would be the first goal for us.”

St Finbarr's Brian Hayes tackling Carbery Rangers' Jack Kevane. Picture: Denis Boyle
St Finbarr's Brian Hayes tackling Carbery Rangers' Jack Kevane. Picture: Denis Boyle

Chairman Sean Hayes in hoping to build on 2022.

“I thought that progress was made from previous years. On the day, in the quarter-final, we were unlucky to lose. I suppose goals win games, and they managed to get two and we didn’t,” he says.

“It was a strange one, but I was still pleased that we have improved on previous years. 

Now that we’ve won a championship, the aim is to get back and win another one.”

Looking at this year’s league, Carbery have suffered three defeats in three.

Granted, one of those games was against last season’s beaten finalists in St Finbarr’s, and the other against the side Barrs defeated to get to that final — Castlehaven.


Hayes believes the competitiveness of Division 1 can aid the club come championship.

“This year the league structure is slightly different. Last year, they had two groups of 10 teams, and the top five from each went into Division 1. We were lucky enough to make it.

“It’s a harder league than last year. There’s no easy game, the club wants to be competing at the highest grade, [and] a good league will help with championship.

“They’re good competitive games that help younger players coming through to get a chance.”

Looking at 2023, and the challenges that lie ahead for Rangers, Hayes says: “At this stage, the team is well settled in the senior grade, and with the new format, it’s after making the games a lot more competitive.

“You can qualify out of the group as easily as you can get stuck in a relegation battle, so every game means something.”

Hayes said it means a lot to the club to have former star forward Seamus Hayes in charge.

“Seamus has got an awful lot of experience. He was involved as a player and won junior, senior and intermediate counties with the team. He’s a fantastic club man who was a leader on and off the field.”

Though the team have had a difficult start to the league, they’re a side that cannot be written off come June.

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