St Brigid’s senior hurling manager Ger Ryan is under no illusions about the test ahead of his charges after the draw for the 2014 senior hurling championship was made earlier this week.
Group 3 will be an extremely hard one for the Russell Park men to progress from, as they have been pitted against former champions O’Toole’s and Faugh’s, as well as up-and-coming hurling tyros Na Fianna.
Speaking to GazetteSport last week, Ryan was mindful but unbowed in the face of the opponents his side will face over the course of the championships.
“It’s a tough group. No matter who you get, it’s going to be tough to get out of the group stage of the championship, but this is a very tough group.
“We’re up against the likes of O’Toole’s and Faughs, who have been champions before, and you have Na Fianna who always give us a tough game. They are all shot through with quality. It is going to be a difficult group for us.
“We know what we are about and what they are about. The one thing we are all targeting is to top the group. At the end of the day, every team is hoping to top their group.”
In spite of his wariness, Ryan has the previous experience of reaching last year’s championship semi-final with an impressive run of results to fall back on. Although they exited the competition to eventual winners Ballyboden St Enda’s, St Brigid’s were extremely good value for their last four placing.
“We had a good run alright last year. No matter who you get drawn against in the championship, the matches are all on the day. It’s on yourself to win. I would be happy if we get out of the group in second place.
“They are three tough teams, but in saying that, we are a good team ourselves. If we line out ourselves properly on the day, we can beat anybody.”
In spite of that experience, Ryan says that having to battle to regain their place in Senior A hurling will be the team’s ultimate focus for the season.
“My aspirations for the year and the goal he have set is to go straight back up to Division 1, and to get out of our championship group. You need to make goals for the lads to focus on, so that’s been the target since we went back into training. The lads know what the story is, and it’s great that it’s all out there now – we know what we have to do.”