Luck went against Kilkenny CBS in the last two All-Ireland colleges hurling finals, but they will be ready to go again in 2014.
The James Stephens gang have had enough of being the ‘nearly men’ of the colleges scene after suffering defeats in successive finals against Dungavan Colleges (2013) and Neagh CBS (2012).
And after encountering another setback in the Leinster league final against mighty St Kieran’s College last week, the defiant message from James Street was: “All is far form lost.”
“We believe we have the makings of a very good team, and we will be ready come championship time,” insisted team official, Niall Tyrrell, who supervised the squad with fellow teachers, Ger Morrissey and Matt Ruth.
“That was a very good match,” said after the league final. “We were unlucky to lose. We were hoping to learn loads, and we did. Obviously we wanted to win a Leinster title, but it was as much a learning exercise as anything else.
“We are not happy to have lost, but in a broad sense it was a worthwhile exercise,” he said of the surrender of the title.
The championship, Mr Tyrrell insisted, was what everyone was looking at.
“At the beginning of the year it is a bonus if you win the league,” he said. “The title you set your sights on is the Leinster championship. It is only December. Preparataions haven’t been brilliant. Local under-21 championships and delays to other competitions tied up some of our players.
“So far we have about 60% of the work done that we had hoped to do. We will catch up. There is no rush. We will work over Christmas. We have a few challenge matches and a couple of training sessions organised.
“We will come back in January and we will be ready come championship time. We have a decent squad. For the first time in a long time we have 30 players to pick from. We can turned to every single one of them and trust them in the job we ask of them.
We probably didn’t have that sort of pick in other times.”
The CBS had 38 players listed for the Leinster league final. Mr Tyrrell said they have had had some great trainning sessions with 15 on 15, and competition within the squad was very high.
“It is a headache for us picking the team, but that is the way you want it. The weather has been so mild it has helped the training. In other year we would be organising indoor sesssions and so on. So far, the weather has been brilliant. Long may it last.”
He was confident the CBS had the makings of a good strong team, because they have plenty of good hurlers.
“They are eager for this,” he assured. “I never came across a group as mature as their age. If we say we are training at 12 noon on a Saturday they will be there at 11.30am ready to go. They amaze me sometimes they are so eager and mature. Hopefully we can go on and win something.”
He said clubs, all clubs, were producing very well prepared teams for schools.
“The players come to us very well prepared by their clubs,” Mr Tyrrell continued. “When they came back in September from their clubs and we started training, we had little physical or first touch work to do with them. That was all there from their clubs. Our biggerst task is trying to find the best mix of players, and to get them operating together as a unit.
“The season is shaping up well, and we are happy enough in terms of where we are,” he admitted. “Both camps will have learned a lot after the League final.”