Carrigaline not going out to make up the numbers

Cork U21A HC final: A less-than-charitable assessment heard regarding the recent Carrigaline-Shandrum U21AHC semi-final was the sides were battling for the right to be beaten in the final by Blackrock.

Carrigaline prevailed to reach tonight’s decider in Páirc Uí Rinn (8pm) but manager Seán O’Shea is keen to clarify that just making up the numbers is far the objective.

“I’d agree we’re underdogs but it’s not like we’re not there on merit,” he says.

“This team has had a measure of success coming up through the ranks. At U14 level they reached a county final and at minor they were semi-finalists.

“We’ve had some tough games this year but, importantly, they’ve been good games and we want to show on Saturday that we belong in the final.”

Evolution rather than revolution has been key in the maturation of the Carrig side, as O’Shea explains.

“I’ve been with a lot of this team since they were very young,” he says.

“We’d switch up the management team every few years, for example Andy O’Keeffe is doing the coaching this year and for a few years before that it was Brian Allen.

“The great thing about this panel is they’re proactive and there’s never much of a need to talk to them. There’s a good blend too of fellas who are on the age and then other younger players.

“They never worry too much about who they’re playing and there won’t be any fears on Saturday night.”

Carrigaline’s only previous final appearance was in 2007, when they lost to a star-studded Bishopstown side. The importance of a maiden victory can’t be quantified.

“It’d be a massive boost for the hurling side,” O’Shea says, “I suppose it came under cosh a bit with the way the premier intermediate championship went this year.

“There is a lot of talent in the club and the work going in at underage level has been huge, the whole thing is very well structured now.

“A win would be enormous, we think that it’d mean more to us to win it than it would to Blackrock but I’m sure they’d say different!

If nothing else, the development of a winning culture would create the good kind of vicious circle.

“A lot of young lads in the club would have looked up to, and still look up to, Nicholas Murphy and you’d hope that if we could get a win like this then there’d be a similar effect,” O’Shea says.

“Seeing the likes of Robert O’Shea and Kevin Kavanagh playing hurling for Cork gives encouragement to the young players coming and makes them want to do it too.

“If we were to win on Saturday you’d hope it’d be the same.”

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