Wednesday 25 April 2018

Cork hurling title winner O'Reilly bids for Cup final

 

UCC Demons’ player-coach Colin O’Reilly
UCC Demons’ player-coach Colin O’Reilly

Barry Lennon

UCC Demons' player-coach Colin O'Reilly admits that at 33 he shouldn't even be managing teams yet.

However, the former Cork senior hurling championship winner doesn't lack experience on or off the court.

The Blackrock clubman claimed top honours in the 2002 county final, playing alongside Rebel inter-county players Alan Browne, Wayne Sherlock and Fergal Ryan.

"I played senior in both hurling and football," O'Reilly says. "Back then the hurling team had several Cork players but unfortunately our football team weren't lasting as long in the championship."

Later he played basketball professionally in England and Germany before returning to achieve more, coaching Demons to an historic treble of Super League and Champions Trophy, National Cup titles in 2015.

O'Reilly will bid once more, as player-coach, for a Cup final place in today's clash against Black Amber Templeogue at Cork's Mardyke Arena (8.0pm).

"It's good to have it in Cork. We have played four home games out of 11 this season. We haven't had as much exposure to the court as normal. We'll have big crowds but there'll be a lot more neutrals." he says.

Body

"(Being a player-coach) It's the same as being a coach. It takes the same time to build the whole system and the same preparation. The only thing different is that I've to prepare my body too."

O'Reilly once more returned home to play with and manage Demons this season after a disappointing stint managing English side Cheshire Phoenix full time.

"It was one of those ones where you've got to take the opportunity when it comes. Very few Irish people get that chance. It was nice to try, especially at my age, I shouldn't even be coaching at this stage yet."

Amongst O'Reilly's players later today will be his brother Niall, who has six Cup titles to his name.

"For him it's just another weekend. He's been there through the good times and the bad," he reflects.

"In my opinion he probably shouldn't have sacrificed as much as he has throughout his career but he'll say, 'The trophies back up the sacrifice', so you can't argue with that."

In the other semi-final, league leaders UCD Marian will face fellow Dubliners Pyrobel Killester at 6.0pm in the Mardyke Arena.

Irish Independent

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