'Exciting times' as Kanturk take step into the unknown
Kanturk coach Michael Murphy believes his club can continue to grow and prosper now that they have qualified for the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League for the first time in their history.
There were huge celebrations at the weekend when the north Cork club finally graduated from junior rugby to the AIL after defeating Instonians 24-13 in Belfast.
Kanturk will replace the Ulster side in Division 2B next season, thanks to an assured performance just seven days on from suffering the desolation of losing to Wanderers in the round-robin play-off for the original promotion spot to the AIL.
"There was a lot of confidence particularly after coming so close against Wanderers, who were very fancied," said Murphy.
"It was a one-point loss and we were fairly disappointed after that game having come so close.
"On the back of that the lads were very confident and they got a lot of footage of Instonians and some games they played in Division 2B.
"We felt we were certainly good enough to make a good game of it."
And that they did. After a rather shaky start, Kanturk gradually gained the upper hand, with Mark Healy's fine kicking a feature, while tries from Luke and Dan McCabe were added to Brian O'Neill's effort, which clinched the win.
"It was brilliant back in Kanturk. We didn't get back until 1.0am on Saturday and the town came out to welcome us home, there was a band there and everything," said Murphy.
"It was brilliant to see it, especially for the older servants in the club and for the younger guys too, it's exciting times in Kanturk."
The north Cork outfit now enter into the unknown, and will join Wanderers in making the step up from junior rugby to Division 2B. And their master tactician believes there's more to come.
"I think the structures are there, particularly in the younger structures," said Murphy.
"It's something we put an awful lot of focus on in the last couple of years."