Douglas hurling manager Willie Coveney would like to set the record straight.
The decision earlier this year of former Cork hurler Cian McCarthy to transfer from his native Sars — with whom he won four county titles — to Douglas prompted a myriad of rumours. Chief among them that the 27-year-old had been poached by the latter.
Not true, says Coveney.
With former Tipperary hurler Shane Bourke having declared for the Cork city club at the turn of the New Year, the optics didn’t look great when another high-profile signing arrived into the club little over a month later.
Coveney says he was in the dark over McCarthy’s move until very late in the day. Contrary to public opinion, he added, they did not chase his signature.
“There were rumours going around Cork at the time [about Cian seeking a transfer], but nothing that we thought was any way concrete,” Coveney begins.
“There are still a lot of rumours out there, the usual thing about our club approaching him. Cian approached us. There was no long chasing process out of us, as what has been gossiped around Cork. It was an unfortunate situation below [in Sars] from his and the club’s point of view. Once he decided he was leaving, we were delighted he chose to come to us.
“Cian is friendly with one or two guys here and it came through that. Then I met him. Once he decided he was happy in his own decision with regards Sars, we were delighted to have him. If he was going anywhere, we’d like to have him here. He indicated he was happy to come. He is a fella of great hurling ability. He has come in, trained away and is very easy to get on with. He has fitted in straight away and that has made the whole transferring in a lot easier.”
As for Shane Bourke, how did it come about that a man who was introduced for Tipperary in the closing stages of the 2014 All-Ireland hurling final replay has wound up plying his trade with Douglas?
“He was travelling up and down to his own club [JK Brackens] from Cork. He found the travelling hard and so expressed an interest as he’d be friendly with fellas in the club,” Coveney continues.
“There was no mad wooing stage or anything like that. It was a simple question: would you like to come and join? More so than his performances, he has just been a great addition around the place. He is very good at training, very good with all the younger fellas. That is what we were looking for: a very good character. We are all aware of his hurling ability. He could have come in and easily traded off that, but he’s put the head down and got to work. He has done what was asked of him. He is very professional in his approach.”
Throw in Alan Cadogan, Shane Kingston and Brian Turnbull – the latter hit 10 points for the Cork minors during their mid-week rout of Waterford - and theirs is now the most vaunted attack in the county. Little wonder that bookmakers have installed them as favourites for the Seán Óg Murphy Cup.
“The bookies go off a bit of hype. You are going to get that with two signings. The bookies acted accordingly, as did the punters. It is just about ignoring the hype. There is a bit of a target on your back because of that and teams will put in that extra bit to try and beat ya, wipe it in your face a bit. I wouldn’t be reading too much into it.
“It is surprising to be installed as favourites from the point of view we’ve never reached a county final and yet people are writing off very experienced teams in the county. The Glen are going for three-in-a-row. Sars are flying it in the league. Erin’s Own gave us an awful trimming the other night. They are going well.”
CIT represent the first fence which requires jumping and the manager is wary given his charges scraped past the students in the fourth round in 2016. Last year was closely run. We were lucky to get out of it. They were probably the better team for most of the game, but we put a good run together at the finish. We are forewarned. It is hard to prepare as you don’t know what players will be available to them. It is easier to go watch another club team as you’ll know who is available to them. For a college and some divisions, you might get a shock on the day with regard to who lines out for them.
“We know if we are not right that we will be wiped. We have to have our own mindset right.”
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