Carrick Davins Lee Mackey missed last year's South intermediate final but will be a welcome addition for Sunday's decider against Ballybacon/Grange.
The South Tipperary Intermediate Hurling Championship will be decided on Sunday evening next when Carrick Davins and Ballybacon/Grange play in the Martin’s Fruit and Veg sponsored final at Monroe. Throw-in at 7 o’clock.
Since their relegation from senior status in 2014 Carrick Davins have been going through somewhat of a transition period and are working hard to get back to top flight hurling as soon as is possible, and club secretary Neil Ryan took a look ahead to Sunday’s final and how the Davins will approach it.
Twelve months ago the Davins played second fiddle in the South Intermediate final to St. Mary’s losing by 0-23 to 0-11, the Clonmel side turning the tables on the previous year’s final when the Carrick side triumphed at Monroe, courtesy of a late goal that day.
And on Sunday next, for a third year on the trot, they are back in an Intermediate final - this time against Ballybacon/Grange. Last year’s South final winners, St. Mary’s, were promoted to senior status following their county final success against Gortnahoe/Glengoole at Golden.
Davins Club secretary Neil Ryan is very pleased with how the club have been progressing this year and with the effort being made by the panel throughout the season.
“We are going well at present and there has been a great commitment shown by all the panel at training this year. The numbers are our sessions is very encouraging and the team are making a great effort for the final on Sunday,” he said.
“We overcame Kilsheelan/Kilcash in the semi-final in Monroe back in April, we came out on top by five or six points that night. And we were delighted with that because Kilsheelan are a very decent hurling team with some good players with inter-county hurling, the two Mahers, Mark Kehoe, and others. So we were glad to get through that knock-out game. The same night here in Davin Park, Ballybacon/Grange beat Moyle Rovers in the other semi-final,” he added.
“We are under no illusions whatsoever going into this final. It is going to be tough and it will be won only by a big performance. It might be Ballybacon/Grange’s first year back at intermediate level but you must remember they were dominating this grade in the South for many years, winning what was it six or seven titles over recent years,” said the Davins secretary.
“We certainly won’t be naive or anything like that facing into the final. Ballybacon are on a winning run again. They won a South and County last year and had a great run all the way to a Munster final. They won’t be in the least bit afraid of us and they are a team that we will show a lot of respect to on Sunday next.
“We are happy ourselves with our own set-up. We have all the usual lads back again from last year, Jamie Houlihan, Mickey Whelan, Mikey Ryan, Billy Roche, Stephen Cronin, Mikey Cronin and Willie O’Dwyer. And we have the addition of Aaron O’Halloran this year too (formerly Carrick Swans) and I think Lee Mackey missed last year’s final against St. Mary’s, so that’s another plus for us for this year’s final,” added Neil.
Carrick Davins are a proud club with a special history including being Munster Senior Club champions in 1966 (when they defeated Ballygunner in the provincial final), and you can hear that too when Neil Ryan speaks.
“The Davins want to get back to senior grade, the grade that all clubs aim for. But we know that is a long road. We set out at the start of every year and we envisage getting to the South final and going on from there. We are a young team but having said that we are a young team with another year under our belts since last year’s final. That day we went down to St. Mary’s who are a very good side as they proved by going on to win a county title. We have that South final defeat in its proper perspective, we lost to a very good team,” added Neil.
“We’ll go up for the final and as the old adage goes ‘on any given Saturday’ it could go either way. We’ll go up to Clonmel and we’ll hurl our best. The South final is a big deal for us, 100% it is, and we’ll hope for the best result we can get after that,” concluded the Davins secretary.