Re­sult is all that mat­ters for Beau­fort

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT - BY JA­SON O’CON­NOR

THE mem­ory of that oh so ab­sorb­ing en­counter with Na Gaeil in the Premier Ju­nior Fi­nal back in May ap­pears dis­tant in one sense but for Beau­fort the wait to claim their prize from that sen­sa­tional ex­tra-time en­counter ends this Satur­day when they head to Cahir in Tip­per­ary to take on Bal­ly­looby-Castle­grace in the first round of the Mun­ster Ju­nior Club Cham­pi­onship.

It hasn’t all been plain sail­ing since for the Mid Kerry side, how­ever. Rel­e­ga­tion from Di­vi­sion 1 of the County League af­ter a one-year stay fol­lowed by a shock exit to Laune Rangers in the Mid Kerry semi-fi­nal in sur­ren­der­ing the dis­trict ti­tle have fol­lowed that glo­ri­ous day in the Austin Stack Park sun­shine.

How­ever, it has not af­fected the team in other years like it might have their man­ager Éanna O’Mal­ley be­lieves.

“If we didn’t have this [Mun­ster] I think be­ing rel­e­gated in the County League and los­ing in the Mid Kerry Cham­pi­onship would have been very hard to re­cover from. We were com­pet­i­tive in the County League though de­spite be­ing down a few play­ers dur­ing the sum­mer and lost some tight games that could have gone our way.

“Our hope was to be in the Mid Kerry fi­nal, but that didn’t go to plan. We’ve had four or five good chal­lenge matches since though where at least the play­ers were able to full tilt and not be wor­ried about pick­ing up in­juries like if they were play­ing in an­other com­pe­ti­tion,” the Beau­fort boss said.

Beau­fort’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in this grade means that ev­ery Mid Kerry club will have the dis­tinc­tion of play­ing in some form of a Mun­ster Club Cham­pi­onship as O’Mal­ley ad­mits watch­ing their fel­low Mid Kerry sides have made them a bit en­vi­ous.

“When it’s so close to you, see­ing all the other clubs take part, it makes you want to ex­pe­ri­ence it your­self which we are thank­fully now do­ing. The gap has given us to chance to fol­low how all the other coun­ties are go­ing, par­tic­u­larly on our side of the draw but it’s a bit of a sub­jec­tive thing be­cause it is hard to com­pare stan­dards across them all,” he be­lieves.

Ro­nan Mur­phy is a big in­jury con­cern for Beau­fort ahead of the week­end, but O’Mal­ley says the change in tim­ing of the Club Cham­pi­onships in Kerry presents a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge now to those go­ing for­ward into Mun­ster.

“Be­fore you would be wor­ried about be­ing too tired go­ing into these af­ter a run of games, now you are wor­ried about be­ing un­der­cooked with the gap es­pe­cially when the other teams are com­ing straight out of their coun­ties,” the Beau­fort man­ager said.

Their op­po­nents this Satur­day Bal­ly­looby-Castle­grace did not win the Tip­per­ary Ju­nior Cham­pi­onship in go­ing for­ward into Mun­ster with Tem­ple­more’s JK Brack­ens beat­ing them in the fi­nal. How­ever, as it was a B side from the Tem­ple­more out­fit that won, they were in­el­i­gi­ble to go for­ward to Mun­ster in ad­vance of the match.

From what O’Mal­ley has seen of the South Tipp side, he is ex­pect­ing a very com­mit­ted chal­lenge in Cahir this Satur­day.

“They de­fend in num­bers and like to run with the ball as well and they look very co­he­sive in how they play. We are just look­ing for a re­sult on Satur­day rather than wor­ry­ing too much about the per­for­mance es­pe­cially with the gap in­volved.

“The op­por­tu­nity to have a Mun­ster semi-fi­nal at home in the next round if we win is some­thing that we are us­ing as a big in­cen­tive with the lads to try and get them fo­cussed on the game.”

Mur­phy’s ab­sence would be a set­back for Beau­fort, but there is a lot of qual­ity in their ranks in the form of Liam Carey, Mike and Nathan Breen, Fer­gal Hal­lis­sey, Jonathon Kis­sane, Padraig Doona, Ciaran Kennedy and Ro­nan Fer­ris to see them through this long trip to Cahir.

Vet­eran goal­keeper Mike Mo­ri­arty will pro­vide good ex­pe­ri­ence as well as they bid to re­store Kerry’s dom­i­nance in this com­pe­ti­tion fol­low­ing the end of a decade long run of Kerry vic­to­ries in this grade by Knock­na­gree of Cork in last year’s fi­nal with Dro­mid Pearses.

First things first though and that will be to en­sure that Michael Cu­sacks of Clare will have to travel down to Kerry the fol­low­ing Satur­day for the semi-fi­nal.

Ver­dict: Beau­fort

When it’s so close to you, see­ing all the other clubs take part, it makes you want to ex­pe­ri­ence it

Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

Michael O’Sul­li­van of O’Sul­li­van’s Beau­fort Bridge (sixth from left) Pre­sent­ing a set of togs to the Beau­fort Cap­tain Nathan Breen for their match against Bal­ly­looby, Castle­grace Tip­per­ary in the Mun­ster Ju­nior Cham­pi­onship (from left) Fer­gus Kelly, Kevin Fer­ris, Mau­rice Breen, Frank Cof­fey Club Chair­man, Mike Breen and Eanna O’Mal­ley at Beau­fort GAA Grounds on Sun­day.

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