Few intermediate teams boast as many household names as Kanturk.
Tomorrow, Anthony Nash, Aidan Walsh and Lorcán McLoughlin lead the club’s bid for Cork IHC honours against an Éire Óg side which includes Ciarán Sheehan and Daniel Goulding.
There has been plenty of talk this season about Kanturk’s big names and bigger reputations. But McLoughlin offers an interesting counter argument: “It doesn’t matter the names you have — if you don’t perform on the day county names don’t mean anything.
“It comes down to how good the team is. We’ve improved this year and going into the championship we felt we had as good a chance as every other team.”
Neither McLoughlin nor Nash would look on returning to club action as any sort of consolation after losing the All-Ireland final replay to Clare.
But it has been a tonic and a fillip, especially reaching another county final having narrowly lost to Kilworth in last year’s decider.
“Not being involved because of the Cork set-up, we watched the lads train and play,” says McLoughlin. “We saw them in league games and competing well, which was very encouraging.
“It’s always something to look forward to and to be able to compete alongside them at the latter end of the season is great. Being in a county final is as big an honour as being involved in the county team.”
Walsh’s build-up to tomorrow couldn’t be more unorthodox after his vice-captaincy in Ireland’s record-breaking International Rules series victory.
He also spoke of the pressure he felt playing in the hybrid game and putting his involvement in the county final at risk.
“You have to be a bit selfish in a way but obviously the whole club is delighted for Aidan to be involved with the country,” McLoughlin insists.
“It’s a huge honour to represent your country but in a way we’d our fingers crossed that regardless of the results he came through injury-free and that’s what happened.”
Walsh is simply that important to the cause as is Nash, who has been providing the same type of swashbuckling displays he gave for Cork in this year’s championship in recent games.
Whether it has been his 75m winning free into wind against Fermoy in the semi-final or a goal from a free in the last 10 minutes against Meelin before that, he has been delivering in spades.
“There’s been no shortage of drama in the games and he’s been performing well for the club, which is encouraging,” smiles McLoughlin of Nash.
“That’s all you can ask and being captain this year he has shown real leadership. But we saw that as well with Cork.”
McLoughlin won’t treat himself to the idea of what winning an intermediate title would mean for the club.
He only speaks of what it might be like.
“Back in 2002 we won the Duhallow title for the first time in 33 years. That was huge for the club and that occasion was huge. The lift it gave the club and the town was massive.”
Tomorrow, Éire Óg stand in their way of another piece of silverware.
McLoughlin fancies it will be an affair that will be in keeping with the tight clashes they’ve experienced in recent games.
“We probably knew coming into the championship that there wouldn’t be a whole pile between any team. As it panned out, the quarter- and semi-finals have been close matches.
“From an Éire Óg point of view, they have come through some close encounters as well.
“They probably have an edge over us in preparations because we’re trying to balance the football as well (Kanturk have an intermediate championship game on Wednesday).
“Certainly, they’ve some quality forwards there in Ciarán Sheehan, Kevin Hallisey, Daniel Goulding and John Dineen. We’ll have our work cut out to curb their influence the next day.”
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