HE may have five Seandun junior hurling medals in his pocket but divisional glory no longer sates Dan Lucey’s appetite for success.
Mayfield have been challenging strongly in the city championship over the past decade, laying their hands on silverware along the way, but crossing the frontier in the county arena has proved beyond team.
Tomorrow afternoon in Páirc Uí Rinn they get a chance to bridge a 33-year gap since the club last claimed the Cork JAHC title when they face Charleville in this year’s decider.
“Winning city titles is still special but at this stage I’m getting sick of playing city junior hurling,” said Lucey.
“I want to get up playing intermediate hurling and that’s the attitude everyone in our panel has. We want to get out of the city division, experience hurling at a higher level and get playing new teams. With the young fellas we have coming through in the club, I think it’s important that we step up and tomorrow is our chance to do that.”
They have been knocking strongly on the door in recent years. When Meelin swept up county, provincial and national junior hurling titles over the past year, Mayfield reflected on last October’s county junior semi-final when there had only been four points separating themselves and the Duhallow side when the teams clashed in Coachford.
“We definitely had our chances to win that game,” recalled Lucey.
“But it was more inspiring for us than a game that gave us a lot of regrets. We knew this year that we had the ability to push on. I think we’ve matured as a team and last year’s experience stood to us.
“Nicky Kelly was missing that day against Meelin and he’s a big addition this year. You see what he’s done playing for the Cork minors and for CIT in the county senior final. He’s a great talent and has a brilliant attitude.”
The man overseeing Mayfield’s progress has had an integral role to play as well. John Boylan has had a celebrated playing career at club and inter-county level, and is now imparting his hurling wisdom as a coach. Mayfield’s semi-final was a tricky experience for him as he came up against his native Dungourney but Lucey reveals that Boylan’s focus was completely on the city team.
“We didn’t really dwell on it beforehand as we just concentrated on getting ourselves right. John was in the dressing-room with us before the match and at half-time, it was just that he was up in the stand during the game.
“It wasn’t an issue for us. He’s a brilliant coach and everything he does is simple which is the most important thing. A lot of coaches now concentrate on cones and drills, but he keeps things simple and is top class.”
After generating momentum with some fine victories over the past few weeks, the ambition now is to add one more success. For Lucey it would be a special occasion as he is captain and his father Sean, a member of the Cork senior hurling squad that claimed the 1976 All-Ireland title, was part of the Mayfield team that defeated Carrigtwohill in the 1978 county junior hurling final.
“I wouldn’t really care if I was captain or not to be honest, the most important thing is to win. There’s huge excitement in Mayfield, you can see the whole community is getting involved in it.
“33 years without being in a county final is a long time and it’d be great alright to get a medal that my father has. We’ve had good wins but Charleville are going to be tough opponents. It hasn’t been easy for them over the last few weeks as they’ve had a lot on their plate with the fixture chaos in North Cork and then that really bad injury Dessie Fitz suffered in the semi-final. But they’ll be well motivated and we’ll have to be ready for the challenge.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved