Masters down to the fi­nal four sides

Irish Examiner - County - - People - Ger McCarthy

Johnny Law­less (Ard­field) and Lorne Ed­meade’s (Clon­akilty AFC) young side is only the sec­ond West Cork squad to take part in the Gal­way Cup.

Hopes are high of an equally pro­duc­tive cam­paign fol­low­ing on from their 2016 coun­ter­parts who — un­der the guid­ance of Dan Mc­Sweeney and Ian Pick­er­ing — made head­lines by de­feat­ing the North Dublin School­boys League 1-0 at last year’s tour­na­ment.

Ex­pe­ri­enced WCSL Emerg­ing Tal­ent Pro­gramme and for­mer Kennedy Cup Coach Zo­ran Teodor­ovic is also trav­el­ling with the West Cork squad and ap­pre­ci­ates the im­por­tance of the Gal­way Cup.

Teodor­ovic knows only too well that thus tour­na­ment acts as ideal prepa­ra­tion for next sum­mer’s SFAI Kennedy Cup at the Univer­sity of Limerick, giv­ing play­ers an op­por­tu­nity to travel, room, train and play to­gether as a squad for a full week.

“Given that it’s only the sec­ond time West Cork is tak­ing part in the Gal­way Cup, it is a wel­come tour­na­ment in prepa­ra­tion for the well known Kennedy Cup,” Teodor­ovic com­mented.

“The for­mat of the tour­na­ment is quite sim­i­lar to that of Kennedy Cup and in­cludes many up­com­ing Kennedy Cup teams as well as club teams and teams from abroad.

“Gal­way pro­vides the coaches and the play­ers with clear in­di­ca­tion of what is to come next with an op­por­tu­nity to take both use­ful pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives from of the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Drawn in the 2004 Elite Group B, the WCSL face a dif­fi­cult task in go­ing up against Sligo-Leitrim, North Tip­per­ary, Done­gal and the Roscommon Lions. Today, West Cork be­gins their Gal­way Cup cam­paign with a tough opener against Done­gal be­fore lin­ing out against North Tip­per­ary later this evening.

As ever, the West Cork Emerg­ing Tal­ent Pro­gramme’s onus will be on in­di­vid­ual player de­vel­op­ment rather than go­ing all out for re­sults at the Gal­way Cup.

“Of course, re­sults al­ways mat­ter and no­body wants to be los­ing games but the im­por­tance of the Gal­way Cup is mainly on per­for­mances and lessons learned from the ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing at such a tour­na­ment,” noted Zo­ran Teodor­ovic.

“This ap­proach al­lows coaches to see how far their team has come in terms of their de­vel­op­ment.

“It also pro­vides an in­di­ca­tion of what needs to be done in the fu­ture to im­prove and get the best out of our squad and in­di­vid­ual play­ers. Re­sults take care of them­selves as long as we pro­duce good per­for­mances, put in the ef­fort and make progress.

“The big­gest chal­lenge fac­ing any squad go­ing to such a tour­na­ment is the busy schedule and the in­ten­sity of play­ing so many games in such a short space of time. Yes, it is a tir­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for 13 year-olds but one that will help them in a long run.

“The best way for the play­ers to deal with the chal­lenge ahead is to be­have in a pro­fes­sional man­ner and take any ad­vice given to them by those in charge in an ef­fort to help them deal more com­fort­ably with any sit­u­a­tion.” This year’s Gal­way Cup has at­tracted a wide range of qual­ity school­boys teams not just from the Repub­lic of Ire­land but fur­ther afield as well with Colorado Rapids, Gle­navon Academy and Tris­tar Boys (Derry) set to fea­ture in the four-day tour­na­ment.

“Re­gard­ing the qual­ity of the Gal­way Cup tour­na­ment, nowa­days it is rare to come across a com­pet­ing team that would be con­sid­ered an ‘easy game’,” ad­mit­ted Zo­ran Teodor­ovic.

“There are no easy games and no poor teams at this level. Every team and every player uses the Gal­way Cup as a plat­form to prove them­selves at the high­est level against some of the best play­ers in the coun­try and abroad.

“There is con­stant com­pe­ti­tion for places in our squads, as is the case with every other squad at­tend­ing the tour­na­ment, so play­ers are de­ter­mined to give their best and make the most of every sec­ond on the pitch.

“Two games on open­ing day make it an even tougher job but that is the rea­son why a squad of 20 play­ers is needed.

“Every player will get a chance, every player is counted upon to be ready when needed and ex­pected to give their all both off and on the pitch.

“Play­ers must en­joy them­selves and learn from this ex­pe­ri­ence, that’s the most im­por­tant thing and what con­sti­will tutes ‘suc­cess’ in my opin­ion.

“Go­ing away from the Gal­way Cup know­ing they gave it their all and played to the best of their abil­ity while tak­ing pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives out of the tour­na­ment is a suc­cess in it­self.

“As for us coaches, know­ing how far the squad has pro­gressed in their over­all de­vel­op­ment and what needs to be done next to get the ab­so­lute best out of each in­di­vid­ual player are just an­other set of pos­i­tives we will take from our week in Gal­way.” WE ARE down to the fi­nal four in this sea­son’s Su­perValu West Cork Masters Cup will each of the semi-fi­nal­ists ea­ger to con­clude the sum­mer cam­paign by lift­ing the pres­ti­gious tro­phy.

Dur­rus will en­ter­tain Clough­duv Celtic in this year’s Cup semi-fi­nals with the host club anx­ious to win their first piece of Masters sil­ver­ware.

It won’t be easy, go­ing up against a multi-league and cup win­ning Clough­duv squad but in Frankie Arun­del, Dur­rus pos­sess this year’s lead­ing marks­man.

At the time of writ­ing, Arun­del has scored nine goals (five in the league and four in the cup) and been one of his club’s most con­sis­tent per­form­ers. Clive Cremin, Don­agh Cronin, Der­mot O’Donoghue, Kieran O’Dono­van and Kieran Houri­hane have also found the net and should pro­vide a stern test of their op­po­nents’ cup cre­den­tials.

Celtic’s cup pedi­gree has seen the Clough­duv-based out­fit pre­vi­ously claim the tro­phy in 2012 and 2014 as well as fin­ish­ing run­ners-up in the knock­out com­pe­ti­tion two sea­sons ago.

Rob­bie Walsh is en­joy­ing a stand­out in­di­vid­ual cam­paign and has al­ready found the net five times. Walsh, along with Kevin Finn, Martin McCarthy, Conor Mini­hane and De­nis O’Ma­hony have reg­u­larly been on the score­sheet this sum­mer en­abling Celtic to push for both league and cup hon­ours.

Home ad­van­tage gives Dur­rus a fight­ing chance of caus­ing an up­set and knock­ing out one of the favourites for this sum­mer’s cup at the penul­ti­mate stage.

How well Clough­duv man­age to shackle Frankie Arun­del’s goal-scor­ing threat will go a long way to de­cid­ing the out­come of this semi-fi­nal. Celtic’s ex­pe­ri­enced squad al­lied with John Paul O’Ma­hony and Rob­bie Walsh’s com­bined abil­i­ties should see Clough­duv edge a tight en­counter.

2016 West Cork Masters League cham­pi­ons Castle­town Celtic wel­come Bandon Masters to Castle­townken­neigh in the sec­ond cup semi-fi­nal. It has proven a dif­fi­cult sea­son for the league ti­tle-hold­ers, un­able to re­pro­duce the con­sis­tent form that saw them sur­pris­ingly pip Clon­akilty Town to last year’s cham­pi­onship.

Bandon are in still the hunt for an league play-off berth with Clough­duv Celtic or Clon­akilty Town and more than ca­pa­ble of claim­ing the Masters Cup in their cur­rent form.

The West Cork School­boys League Emerg­ing Tal­ent Pro­gramme sqaud that will com­pete at this week’s Gal­way Cup for only the sec­ond time in the league’s his­tory.

Bun­ratty United’s Michael O’Driscoll, Dar­ragh O’Reilly, Lor­can O’Brien and Finian Ho­gan, who will rep­re­sent the West Cork School­boys League at this week’s Gal­way Cup.

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