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College players gain further experience with Ryan Cup tournament

College players gain further experience with Ryan Cup tournament csn gaa cetb evening echo

From the Evening Echo, February 24th, 2017

CSN team bringing the CCETB to success
CSN team bringing the CCETB to success

 

College players gain further experience with Ryan Cup tournament

by Barry O'Mahony

UCC might have been making headlines over the past few weeks for their performances in the Fitzgibbon Cup, but a grade below in the Ryan Cup competition a combined Cork Colleges hurling team have been making their own mark. The Cork Colleges of Further Education team, made up of players from three colleges in Cork, Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, College of Commerce and Mallow College of Further Education face Garda College in the Ryan Cup semifinal this morning in Dangan, county Galway. 

The Cork Colleges hurling team made up of players aged 19 to 21 from a variety of clubs across Munster come up against the Garda College, which includes Tipperary’s  Pádraic Maher at centre-back. The Cork Colleges came into this clash in buoyant mood winning the Munster League, overcoming a youthful University of Limerick side in the decider. 

The Ryan Cup, the second tier of colleges hurling, underneath the Fitzgibbon Cup, has been in existence since 1967, with the Cup heading back to Leeside on only  two occasions, 1989 when a combined Cork Regional Technical College side came up trumps and more recently in 2004 when once again a combined Cork Colleges of Further Education and St John’s Central College outfit tasted victory. 

The Ryan Cup can be a springboard for future success in county colours. Kieran Murphy, Donal Cronin, Brendan  Barry and Tadhg Healy are just some of the players that lined out for the last victorious Cork Colleges side, with Murphy enjoying an eight-year stint on the Cork team. 

That should be an inspiration for these latest band of  brothers. Garda College are  first up, with the winners playing either Institute of Technology Sligo or Queens  University Belfast who play on Friday evening with the final tomorrow at 3pm in Pearse Stadium Galway. 

To just put the Cork team’s success this campaign into context, the  management team, led by John Cunningham, have been operating without a full-time GDA, compared to the teams they have faced being the opposite.

A panel of 26 players is made up of 22 players from Coláiste  Stiofáin Naofa, two College of Commerce and two from Mallow College of Further Education.

 A total of 12 of the players are doing the QQI Level 5 course in GAA coaching in Colaiste Stiofain Naofa,  which is run by Cunningham.

Eoghan Cronin is also involved, as a teacher in Mallow College of Further Education, while Joe O’Leary (Na Piarsaigh), Bobby Thornhill (Blackrock) and Frank Higgins (Na Piarsaigh) make up the management.

Huge credit must go to the names mentioned above for driving on the hurling in the colleges and all the hard work over the last two years is now paying off.

One of the star forwards in the Cork Colleges side is St Finbarr’s Brian Ramsey.

“We have had a great season so far, especially winning the league back in November when we beat UL in the final,” said Ramsey.

“The lads they give everything  on the field it’s not easy when we are coming from a college with 700 students and you’re coming up against Colleges like Tralee IT, and Sligo with thousands to pick from. “It’s going to be a great experience for us and are just going to enjoy it and hopefully come out the right side.” Regardless of the result this weekend, it has been an unforgettable season for the combined Colleges team, and as the 21-year-old corner-forward explains, it has improved players that will hopefully stand them in good stead for the future.

“College hurling is a unique thing. There is just something special about it. You get to play against the top players in the country that will stand to a lot of us going forward.

“Personally, I have gained a lot from playing in Ryan Cup.

“It makes you stronger more confident and a better player and obviously you gain a lot of experience from it.

“I would also like to give a mention to our sponsors in Quay Financial management in Cork for sponsoring us with jerseys for the competition.”

Regardless of how they fare this weekend, these players have already gained huge experience to bring back to their clubs.