Drom are ready to step up

TRY, try and try again goes the legend of Robert the Bruce, the persistence of a spider in his hideout cave at Rathlin Island persuading the Scottish lord to go back and have one last lash at gaining the throne, which of course he succeeded in doing.

The bold Robert, however, has nothing on the hurlers of Drom-Inch. Try, try, try and try yet again is their motto. Beaten in the Tipp county senior hurling final of 2005, beaten again in the final of ‘07 and for the third time in the final of ‘09. But it all finally came good for the mid Tipp side this year, the club’s first senior county title.

Joy, celebration or simply relief? All of the above and more, says manager Teddy Kennedy.

“Oh begod you can sing that,” he said.

“A great win, finally. 2005 was probably when we came closest, we really hurled that day but just didn’t get the rub of the green. We were there or thereabouts ‘til the last few minutes, lost. We have no complaints about ‘07 and ‘09, we were the second-best team both days, but finally we got our reward.”

With a Munster club date against Waterford champions Ballygunner tomorrow the next challenge for Teddy and coach Seán Prendergast was to get the lads back to earth. Easier with some than with others, it seems.

“You have to celebrate the win, that’s important,” said Teddy, “and we did. Then you try to get it back, bit by bit. The older lads understand, they know they haven’t got too many years left so it’s easier for them to focus again quickly – they might never get this chance again.

“The younger lads might be thinking they’ll be back here again but we all know, that’s not necessarily the case. Ah, they came down after a few nights of celebration, we had a right good training session again on the Wednesday night.

“We have a lot of very experienced lads on the team, guys like Seamus Callanan and James Woodlock who played with Tipperary this year, but we also have Seamus Butler and Eamon Buckley and they’ve got experience at minor, U21 with Tipp, as has David Collins, and Johnny Ryan won a minor All-Ireland.

“We know how good these lads are, we know their capabilities, and if they hurl on the day we’re capable of beating anyone. It’s a new championship, a different championship, we’ve never hurled in Munster before.

“The first game is vital, and in that respect Ballygunner have the experience; apart from the lads who have already played in the Munster championship, they also have lads who are just recently retired who know what it’s like. They’ll be passing on that experience to the team.

Ballygunner have that edge in experience but in Seán Prendergast Drom-Inch have just the man to balance the books.

Lismore to the core, Seán is only too familiar with Ballygunner and will have no pangs of conscience about plotting the defeat of his own county’s champions.

“When you take on these things at the start of the year you’re not thinking along those lines, that you’d end up being drawn against your own county in the Munster club, but that’s just the way it happened.

“Then again Ballygunner aren’t exactly my own either; within Waterford they’d be the enemy, and Lismore have a very bad record against them – I hope I can improve on that!

“We know how good they are. I was making it out there the other night and I’d say 12 or 13 of this team played against Newtownshandrum in the club final a few years ago, and gave them a fantastic match.

“They have two more years’ experience under the belt now so they’re even better.”

Indeed they are, and with the likes of keeper Stephen O’Keeffe, the Mahony brothers Pauric and Phillip, the O’Sullivans Brian and Shane, along with the Hutchinsons and veteran Andy Moloney (a Tippman), they are a force to be reckoned with. But Drom-Inch are no slouches either.

“Drom-Inch are a fine mixture of youth and experience.

They’re fine stickmen, hurlers to their fingertips, and they have that in common with Ballygunner, both fine hurling teams.

“Look, it’s a great championship this, great romance in it, where else are you going to see a small parish like Drom-Inch taking on the might of a huge city side like Ballygunner, except in the club championship?”

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