Ballygiblin return to Croke Park
By Cian O’Connell
High profile matches continue to arrive thick and fast for Cathail O’Mahony.
The accomplished dual player missed Ballygiblin’s thrilling AIB All-Ireland Junior Hurling Final defeat last year, but has made a significant impact as the club has responded by claiming county and provincial honours.
Getting another opportunity on the Croke Park stage against Easkey means there is plenty of excitement around Ballygiblin. “Definitely,” O’Mahony responds.
“I suppose we didn't think we would get there with the regrading, but once we won the county final, we knew we wouldn't be happy unless we got here.”
This truly is a remarkable time for Ballygiblin. “It is, even when I started out we were just delighted to win a north Cork title, we had only won three or four at that stage,” O’Mahony responds. “So to win two counties back to back I never really thought that would happen with Ballygiblin.
“It is all young fellas, we have Darragh Flynn, we have Mark (Keane) back, Joseph O'Sullivan is back, he was a Cork minor back in the day. We have a lot of young fellas.”
A hamstring injury restricted O’Mahony’s involvement with Ballygiblin for a spell. “Even last year I didn't play hurling at all really, I was just concentrating on football,” he adds. “So to come back this year I just slotted in. The manager has been very good, that has made the transition easier.”
While it has been a busy stint between commitments with Ballygiblin, Mitchelstown, and the Cork senior footballers, O’Mahony is relishing the busy schedule.
“The two county championships were week on week so I'd say we had a game every week for 11 or 12 weeks in a row,” he says. “So it was about managing yourself in between that, stepping out from training to make yourself ready for the weekend.”
A sense of optimism surrounds John Cleary’s Cork footballers too with O’Mahony optimistic about the 2023 inter-county campaign. “It is my first time coming back for pre-season kind of building on something, rather than starting from scratch,” he says.
“We have the same management, we are after adding Kevin Walsh to that which is a huge addition. The boys are flying it at the moment, I've only been in there a few times, but the training has been tough, in fairness.
“His mindset is very good, his tactics are very good. He is a huge addition, the lads are very happy with what he is doing at the moment.”