Setanta focus turns to All-Ireland series

By Dáire Bonnar

AFTER a superb win in the Ulster Intermediate Hurling final two weeks ago, attention for Setanta turns towards Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final.

The memory of that win against Eire Óg Carrickmore is something that will live long in the memory for the Cross/Killygordon community, but they have had to park that away for the past week and a half as they prepare for what will be another massive test in Kilkenny and Leinster Intermediate Champions Thomastown (Páirc Esler, 2pm).

And Setanta ‘keeper and joint-manager Kevin Campbell knows that this game will be their toughest battle yet.

“We’re under no illusions what we’re up against. Thomastown have hammered everyone in the Kilkenny Intermediate and hammered everyone in Leinster. The bookies have us at 161 and they’re giving us no hope but they’ve written us off all year and we just hope to put in a performance.

“I know the boys will die in their boots regardless of what the score is but it’s a fantastic day for the club even to be here.

“We’ll prepare for Thomastown the same way we’ve prepared for everyone. We’ll go and do our homework and come with a game plan and go at them as best we can and the boys will give it everything, there will be nothing left unturned.

“If that takes us over the line then great and if it doesn’t then all you can do is give it our best shot.

It has been a meteoric rise for the hurling club in the past 15 years, with 2007 signalling their first Donegal title for almost two decades as the won back-to-back Munster Cups.

But it wasn’t until 2017 that they won it again, having won it five times since along with two Ulster Junior titles and now an Ulster Intermediate.

And it’s a far cry from where the club were at when Campbell was coming through to the senior team twenty years ago.

“When I came through, Burt were basically the county team, Jamesie Donnelly (MacCumhaill’s) had just broken into the panel but Burt were the county team.

“The club were deciding whether to go into Intermediate or Senior and my father, God rest him, was taking the team and he said we were going into the Senior.

“Everyone in the club said ‘Eamon you’re mad, we’re going to get hammered, we might win an Intermediate’ but he just said that we were going senior and we ran a very good Burt team to three or four points in ’03 and that gave the club a bit of belief.

“But the whole way growing up that Burt team was the team you measured yourself against.

“You think of all them men who hurled for years for Setanta, they would never have dreamed of winning an Ulster Intermediate.

“You hear it now and it’s still unbelievable. I suppose because we are still hurling it hasn’t sunk in properly but any time you think about it, it’s an unbelievable achievement.

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW