It’s been a hectic two weeks for Craobh Rua manager Paul Cunningham. He helped Carrickcruppen secure Intermediate glory last weekend before leading the hurlers to a second junior crown in two years.
It all proved worth it in the end. Both Camlough clubs, with four dual players, ended their campaigns with championship titles.
Cunningham reflected on a “busy” two weeks after leading Craobh Rua to their second Junior title in as many seasons.
“I suppose the last month has got really busy but probably a brilliant problem to have when you’re running into two county finals.
The buzz around the place is unreal, actually unreal. You’re doing something every night which leaves you busy but very enjoyable”.
Tiarnan O’Hare along with brother Oisin started for both Craobh Rua and Carrickcruppen in the last fortnight.
Belleek pair Conor and Bryan McKevitt achieved the same feat of winning football and hurling championships seven days apart.
“There’s six there now, two Belleek and four Cruppen. The thing about those four (starters) is the four of them are in very good shape fitness wise and their age profile is young,” explained Cunningham.
“I’d never any problem boys being dual and training. Not every night of the week, but I don’t have a problem with boys training plenty if they’re quite smart. It’s very doable.
I wouldn’t say it was problematic, it was a nice buzz for them. They probably won’t realise it enough until this is over, but they would have been targeting a championship win there’s no doubt”.
Heading into Sunday’s junior showdown, the men in red and white were favourites to retain their crown. A tag Cunningham and his side knew they held but didn’t underestimate their opponents.
“On paper everybody would have had us down as heavy favourites, but I would know Cuchulainns very well.
They have a lot of good young boys, a few experienced boys in there is all they need, and they become a decent team very quickly.
We just had a bit more firepower than them today. But their young boys, some of them are outstanding and it’ll be no time until their up playing senior.”
The Ulster Championship is next for Craobh Rua. Something they’ll savour having missed out on provincial participation last season.
“At the end of last year’s championship, we would have put it down as a target, that we wanted to stay at Junior and have a crack at Ulster because we didn’t have it last year.
Now we didn’t over emphasise it or anything, but it’ll be a target for us. We’ll do the thing properly; we’ll prepare perfectly for it and we’ll give it a real good rattle”.