- Captain: Cormac Hassett
- Overseas Player: Jeremy Benton (NZ)
- Players in: Jeremy Benton, Shelford Meads, Atif Bashir
- Players Out: Stephan Grobler, Gary King & Marc Smith
- Young Players to watch: Diarmuid Carey, Aaron Cawley
After the highs of winning Division Two in 2016, Cork County came back down to earth enduring a tough campaign in the top flight which saw them relegated.
However there are grounds for optimism as they have some talented young cricketers who will join the regulars and three new faces who it’s hoped will compensate for the loss of Stephan Grobler and Gary King who were two big players for the Munstermen.
Diarmuid Carey and Aaron Cawley are two of the brightest talents at the club, and club spokesperson Rob Duggan has high hopes for both.
“Diarmuid had a real breakthrough season with the ball in 2017 in what was his first full season with the 1st XI and held his own against Leinster Division 1 opposition. His performances by the slow left armer against some of the best batsmen in Leinster certainly caught the eye of the Irish selectors and earned him a well earned call up to the Irish U17 winter training squad. He certainly has the right attitude and desire to continue his improvement and to build on his form with the ball last season and add some important runs with the bat.
“Aaron Cawley is coming off the back of an exciting winter with the Irish U19 squad as they took part in the World Cup in NZ and did everyone proud with some fantastic performances in the competition. Aaron proved to be a key member in the Irish seam attack which now sees him training with the Irish Wolfhounds squad. Unfortunately, due to representative commitments and injury Aaron missed much of our season in Division 1 which proved to be a big void to fill but hopefully he’ll be back leading our attack in 2018 and providing some crucial runs in our middle order.
The club’s pre-season preparations, like most clubs, have been hampered badly by the weather.
“With no suitable indoor practice facilities in the Munster region our pre-season has been badly affected by the extremely poor weather during the late winter/early spring period which has seen groundwork behind where groundsman Matt Reed would like it.”
Duggan is cautiously optimistic about Cork’s chances of further silverware for the forthcoming campaign.
“Following the whirlwind 2016 season which saw us clinch the Leinster Division 2 title and Cricket Ireland Club of the Year, 2017 proved to be a challenging one with the challenge of competing in Division 1 with a thin squad.
“Injuries and non availability at various stages proved costly and the season never really gained momentum.
“Locally, the club retained its Munster Senior Cup and T20 crowns as well the Premier Division title despite stiff competition from Limerick and County Kerry.
“It is always hard to predict how a season will go following relegation and following the departure of Stephan Grobler (overseas player) after 4 successful seasons it will see the younger players under the leadership of Cormac Hassett along with the experienced players such as Ross Durity, Morne Bauer and Abubakar Saddique to take the club forward in Leinster Division 2 as well as retaining our titles locally in Munster.
“With a growing and ambitions youth section, the club never takes for granted the ability to compete in Leinster league competition which provides a great pathway for its youngsters to progress from schools right up to Irish representative honours.”