Masters down to the final four sides
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.