Cork’s first ‘double’ in 1890 was achieved by the hurlers of Aghabullogue and the footballers of Midleton, but in Kilmurry there has always been an element of ‘what if’ attached.
Kilmurry lost to Midleton in the county semi-final that year, having had a goal disallowed in the final minute. While they gained revenge in beating the Magpies two years later, they lost to Clondrohid in the county final and never managed to claim a senior title.
They’re still waiting, but the portents for the future are bright — in 2015, the football club’s underage section won seven different trophies across U15, U16, and minor levels.
Two of the U15s, James Mullane and Tomás Collins, featured at their own age and the two higher levels, so they were present for every success — the U15BFC, U16AFC and county and East leagues, East minor championship and league and county minor league.
Such a haul made them worthy winners of the first Rebel Óg monthly award for 2016. The chairman of the underage section, Denis ‘DD’ O’Mahony, says that the stars aligned for the club last year.
“I don’t know, to be honest, it just happened,” he says.
“There is a lot of talent there and they have been close in other years, things just came right this year. They had very few injuries and everything clicked.
“There’s a small bit of luck too, but they had great trainers. There were two involved in all three teams and one with two teams, so they had a rhythm and they knew each other well.
“The coaches knew who they were dealing with. There were a lot of U16s on the minor team and then a lot of U15s on the U16 team.
“There was one trainer, Chris Hannon, he has been with the juniors the last couple of years, he started out with the current minors.
“He had a lot of work put in with them and he made a big effort with that age-group up along.” Being a football-only club helped focus minds too, with only a few of the players involved also lining out in hurling for Cloughduv.
“You wouldn’t have had a huge percentage [playing hurling], maybe about 10%,” O’Mahony says.
“It made things easier from an organisational point of view, almost everyone was focused exclusively on football, though playing in Central and East competitions was a bit of a headache at times.” The silverware will have gone some way inspiring the next intake of youngsters into the club, while O’Mahony is hopeful of another tilt at minor success this year.
“You’d be hoping,” he says.
“It’s kind of a numbers game with a country club, you just have to work with that. The minors this year, it was a great achievement for them because there were only two or three on the age.
“Twelve of the team were 17-year-olds so they’re minor again in the coming year, going into Premier 2.” Then, the task is to ready them to take the step up to junior.
“If they stay at it,” O’Mahony says.
“That’s the big thing from minor onwards, keeping them going. There’s work there but it’s worth it.”
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