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Cloughduv dare to dream

Thursday, 29th November, 2018 8:50am

They say third time's a charm but for Cloughduv GAA it wasn't until their fourth time of trying that they finally got their hands on the Cork County Junior Hurling title. A notoriously difficult championship to win, Cloughduv fell short in three county finals before they finally collected the cup in October.

Cloughduv's results this season will tell you the title was certainly won on merit, and with that win, came the added bonus of unknown terrain; the Munster championship.

This weekend the Muskerry side will play Waterford opposition, Ballinameela, in the Munster Final and with more silverware up for grabs manager Tim Barry Murphy is looking forward to the occasion.

“It's going to be a fantastic occasion. Since 2002 our main goal in the club is to win the junior title, so it was a great relief this year when we did that, especially after losing finals in 2009, 2010 and 2015. There's great excitement there and the lads are well up for the Munster championship as well. Don't get me wrong, we certainly celebrated when we won the county; wins are rare so you have to, but all the lads were back in training the Thursday after and we've gone from there.”

After enduring such heartbreak, it would be easy for Cloughduv to rest on their laurels, a county cup in the trophy cabinet was the goal at the start of 2018 and that's been captured. But not for this group, winning is a habit keenly felt among a team as close as this one – in a year when the county title hoodoo was finally broke, there's plenty of room in that cabinet for further cups to be added.

“We've a strong panel there, we're been using 20 players throughout the campaign,” notes Barry Murphy.

“The under 21 hurlers are still going, they're in the semi-final against Fermoy next Wednesday, and we have six players that are playing with both teams.

“The County Board have been great with fixtures and Fermoy have been very accommodating as well – I guess it's not every day you're in a Munster Final so that has to take precedence. It's a nice problem to have.

“We've a nice blend there, a good mixture of youth and experience and we've been scoring a lot in all of our previous games. Even if you take our first round game this year against St Ita's, that was a very tough game until we pulled away; we played Newmarket in the semi-final in very tough conditions and came through that well and Russell Rovers in the final were very tough opposition again. To beat two East Cork teams was huge, 'cause obviously the hurling is so strong out there,” he adds.

With three goals scored in the first round, quarter-final and semi-final wins, and two scored in the county final, the cornerstone of this team, Tim says, is their workrate.

“Well again, if you look at our scoring, we're putting good scores up against all of those teams. We went up and beat Boherlahan-Dualla (of Tipperary) in their own back yard so there's a serious strength there in the panel.”

Tim is joint manager of the team alongside Tomás Twomey and they're joined on the management team by Paddy Maher, Sean Holland and club chairman Derry Keane.

Having taken over the job in 2017, this year they have reaped the rewards of two years of hard work.

Tim reflects: “As a management team you have to give the players the responsibility. We lost to Kilbrin heavily in 2017 and we're after coming back this year and we're in a Munster final so that's quite the difference from my first year to my second year!

“We do what we can as a management team but it's up to the players then when the game begins and they've been proving that all year but Sunday is new territory for us. Ballinameela are a strong side, especially down the middle, but we've worked hard and will be giving it everything on Sunday.”

The management's main concern for Sunday is the possible absence of captain Mark Verling, who was injured in the county final win.

“Mark is a major doubt at the moment which is a disappointment of course,” says Tim, “we'll see how he is closer to the weekend. But look, we have the players there to make up for it and we won the Munster semi-final so we overcame that.

“We've also won the Shanballymore game in Mallow so we have experience of the pitch which is also helpful – judging on the crowds that have come out for our previous games we're hoping we'll get the same on Sunday, we've a huge support!”

If the surname is anything to go by, Tim's sideline pedigree and his success thus far should come as no surprise to followers of Cork hurling. “Same tree, different branch,” says Tim of his family ties to the legendary Jimmy, who himself trained Cloughduv before his second stint as Cork manager. Silverware and Barry Murphys go hand in hand on Leeside and Sunday is a chance to add another string to the family's bow – throw-in at Mallow is at 1pm.

That game will be followed by the Munster Junior Football Final where Dromtarriffe play Kerry's Beaufort, that game throws-in at 3.30pm.

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