Bantry focused on PIFC campaign despite league struggles

Blues defender Seth Thornton on why Bantry can drive on after last year's Premier Intermediate final loss
Bantry focused on PIFC campaign despite league struggles

Seth Thornton, Bantry, getting away from Evan Sheehan, Na Piarsaigh, in the Bon Secours PIFC match at Dunmanway. Picture: Dan Linehan

AFTER falling short in the Cork PIFC last season Bantry Blues are hopeful the experience of 2022 will stand to them this year as the West Cork club aim to re-join the senior ranks.

Bantry Blues never got going in the PIFC final last season losing to Kanturk on a scoreline of 3-11 to 1-10.

Bantry have a proud history, they were kingpins of Cork football in 1995 and 1998 and were runners-up in 1909, 1981, and 2001.

It has been a whirlwind couple of years for Bantry, they lost their senior status in 2021 after losing the Senior A Football Championship relegation play-off against Bishopstown but bounced back last year by playing great football and winning some brilliant games but just fell short of an immediate return to the senior ranks.

Marc Sheehan, chairman of the Cork County Board with David Daly, Bantry Blues and Aidan Walsh, Kanturk, before last year's Bon Secours Cork Football Championship final. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Marc Sheehan, chairman of the Cork County Board with David Daly, Bantry Blues and Aidan Walsh, Kanturk, before last year's Bon Secours Cork Football Championship final. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

For Bantry defender Seth Thornton, it’s a case of taking the positives from last season.

“It was very disappointing that the season ended on a sad note,” he said.

“Overall, it was a very good season for the club after the cruel blow of losing our senior status in 2021.

“We went into the campaign just hoping to win a game after failing to win a game since 2020 when we beat St Nick’s in a relegation play-off match.

“We lost all our championship games in 2021 so we weren’t in a good place heading into last season, but thankfully we turned it around and it’s a case of going again this year and making sure we perform to our potential again.”

The fact Bantry got to the PIFC final last season was a magnificent achievement, as touched on above Bantry headed into the championship last year excluding the relegation play-off game without a championship win since they defeated Bandon after a replay in the 2019 PIFC quarter-final.

A restructuring of the grades meant Bantry moved up to Senior A football but they lost all their championship group-stage games in 2020 and defeated St Nick’s in the relegation play-off to preserve their status.

A season later was worse losing every single championship game. For Thornton, who made his debut for the first team back in 2020 it was important to get the feel-good factor back.

“Losing to Bishopstown in the relegation match back in 2021 was a very dark day for the club.

Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves we went back training early in preparation for 2022 and we wanted to prove to ourselves that we are good players.

“David O’Donovan came in as coach last year and he has played a huge part in getting us back on track. It was a real coup for us to get David and he really brought everyone together and brought a buzz back to the club.”


Bantry, similar to last year have made a sluggish start to the 2023 Cork Credit Unions Football League sitting in the lower reaches of the Division 4 table this season.

So while they would have liked a better start to the league in both performances and results there’s certainly no alarming bells ringing.

As we have seen so far this year at inter-county level, league and championship is a totally different ball game.

“It has been a poor start to the league but last year was a long year for us. We are missing a good few players but look that isn’t an excuse, every club are missing players.

It will come right no doubt about it, there’s no panic in the camp, there’s too much experience to let that happen.”

Bantry Blues are in a very tough group that’s impossible to predict with Muskerry teams Iveleary, Naomh Abán and Macroom making up the group.

Iveleary are first up for the West Cork team with last year’s semi-final meeting still fresh in both teams' minds.

Bantry prevailed that day in Dunmanway and the 22-year-old knows it will be a challenging group.

“It’s a very difficult group make no mistake about it.

“Iveleary will be a huge first game for both teams, especially after last year. We will take every game as it comes and see what happens. You just have to take it game by game.”

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