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Ring will have Fermoy ready

Former Cork Under 20 boss Denis Ring has Fermoy ready for action in the group of death

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Denis Ring. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Denis Ring. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Denis Ring. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

When it comes to the traditional "Group of Death" look no further than the Senior A Hurling group of Mallow, Bandon, Charleville and Fermoy - four sides that will all fancy their chances of being there when the goodies are being handed out in mid-October.

These are four sides that all have all the ability to beat the others - four sides that will surely feel that if they can get out of their group they are well on the way to a very positive season.

In recent weeks The Corkman has been looking at some of the many contenders that will be vying for county championship glory in the coming weeks and after previously speaking to the management of Mallow and Charleville, this week it is the turn of Fermoy's Denis Ring ahead of his side's first round clash with Mallow this weekend.

Along with Ring, Mikey Brennan, Trever Grumbridge, Luke Mannix and Shane Killeen will plan Fermoy's assault on this season's competition with Kieran Flynn, Tony Hartnett and Paul Howard (physical trainer) also playing their part in what is likely to be a challenging few weeks for the dual club.

"Ourselves and Bandon are the two teams in this group that have most dual players, said Ring as he prepares to head back to championship.

"Both of our football and hurling teams would have little between them and in our case we would have virtually all, bar our keeper, involved in both.

"We are a dual club and that really is the way it is. The whole philosophy around the club is that it is a dual club and players latterly play 50/50 hurling and football so from the perspective of players and management we all know that from the get go. I know other clubs have gone other directions but not Fermoy.

"What it means day-to-day for us is that whatever time you have available to you and whatever players you have available to you, you must make the most of that. You have to be organised. No matter what happens we will have 50% of the preparation time with our players that a team like Charleville will have but that is not a complaint - it just is the way things are here."

"We will also have 50% of the time that Mallow are likely to have as they have only four or five dual players - Bandon are more similar to us but we definitely have the most."

This season may have been a challenge for most and Fermoy don't escape the difficulties Ring is just glad to be back.

"In the timeframe that we have had this season with the players things have been very problematic, very difficult for us. All that said it is fantastic that fellows will now get out to play but again for the dual club this is going to be a particularly difficult year.

"I think that single code clubs will come to the fore in every championship this season in both codes because of the short timescale. It isn't anyone's fault but still we really are raring to go and see what we can do this season."

While the Covid restrictions will play their part Ring accepts that this will be a tough year for his charges particularly considering the group his side have been drawn in.

"You would have to say that Charleville have put their noses ahead of the others in recent times. What they achieved last year was significant, they were only a hairs breath away from beating Glen Rovers and their progress has been particularly impressive.

"Charleville have worked extremely hard in the last month or so, equally Mallow and Bandon have also. We are struggling a little coming in - we played Ballyduff the other night and it was our first match and we got some hammering.

"The first championship game for us is against Mallow, a big skilful side with the likes of Paul Lyons, Cormac Murphy, Sean Hayes, Pa Herlihy and Ronan Sheehan all very good players.

"We will have to hit the ground running and see what happens. We may be neighbours and we may have played at similar grades but we haven't played Mallow in championship for years so although we know the players we are not familiar to each other on the pitch. Should be an exciting opener."

Former Cork Under 20 Hurling Manger Ring is well positioned to comment on what may happen in the 2020 hurling championships due to begin this week and the Fermoy senior manager feels that the County Board may have missed a trick this year.

Ring, a principal at one of the larger schools in Munster (Blackwater Community College, Lismore) is at the coal-face when it comes to the challenges being faced by both education and sport and feels that perhaps the 2020 campaigns should have a category all of their own.

"This year I think that they should call every cup the Covid Cup because I think that this season considering the way that players and clubs have been restricted in their preparations could throw up a few big surprises in all levels.

"I think teams will go in search of momentum and something like their best form but it will be tough to do that in such a short space of time. I just thought that for the year that was in it an open knock-out draw could have been very novel and would have added to the excitement of it.

"Perhaps its just the sentimentalist in me but seeing the likes of the Glen getting Blackrock in the first round of a knock-out competition is exciting. I remember back when you would hear of a big team getting knocked out in the first round - it was sensational news around the county and it did add a lot of colour and drama to the thing.

"When smaller sides saw a big side going out early it lifted the expectations around the county as players from all sides felt their chances of winning had improved. Saying all that I am a big fan of the round robin too and again must say I am thrilled that we are getting a championship at all this year after it looked bleak for long enough."

Ring is back at the helm of Fermoy again this season and after battling with the inter-county lads for a couple of years is happy to be focused on just one team for now.

"Personally I am delighted to be back preparing with the Fermoy lads. We have all been locked down for long enough. We do have two people that have had to exclude themselves due to personal family circumstances and I fully except that.

"One of the lads has a wife expecting their first child while another has older family members living at home. These are very understandable situations and nothing can be done about those.

"It isn't like a guy is thinking about going travelling for the Summer. Perhaps you could try to talk him out of that or try to organise things to suit but in this case if someone tells you they need to step aside then you have to accept that."

While some must pass up on this year's competition others will take their place and Ring believes that 2020 could be the opportunity for some of the younger players to make their mark.

"With us being a dual club and having players like Tomas Clancy out through injury there will be opportunities for some. We have all seen in the past it is in this kind of scenarios where big careers begin.

"Fellows being thrown in at the deep end that might not normally get thrown in take their chance - and from a Fermoy perspective that is a fantastic challenge for us and a fantastic opportunity for them."

Ring is obviously pleased to be back on the line with Fermoy and he will miss the buzz around the inter-county scene but he knows that this season making it to the finishing line is far a sure thing.

"From a personal point of view I hope that everything goes ok for the championship and we get to see the inter-county action but that is a long way off yet and a lot could happen between now and then.

"I will obviously miss the Cork setup when it starts but this summer, like many people, I was at the garden and the house. I have been told the garden has never been better I wish Donal Óg, Kieran and Seán all the best with the county teams this year and who knows, maybe it will be their year.

"The future remains bright for Cork hurling and I hope we played a part in that over the last two years. I would like to think that ultimately we put some players on the conveyor belt that will deliver a senior All Ireland for Cork and I really do believe that they will."

Corkman