Cork club football opening round showed the upside of the inter-county freeze out

Cork club football opening round showed the upside of the inter-county freeze out
Castlehaven's Damien Cahalane and Alan Jennings of the Carbery Rangers in action last weekend. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

CASTLEHAVEN are one of several clubs to benefit from having uninterrupted availability of their Cork players.

It showed in their 0-14 to 0-9 win over neighbours Carbery Rangers in the first game in Group 2 of the Bon Secours senior football championship in Clonakilty last weekend.

One of them, Michael Hurley, younger brother Brian, sprung quickly from the traps by opening the scoring after only 18 seconds before adding two more by the ninth minute.

In the end, he finished with 0-6, all from play, while Brian accounted for 0-4, including one from a ’45 in a wind-assisted second-half.

Michael outlined the difference between last season’s campaign and the current edition. 

“We only got together a week before the Fermoy game last season and it was just two weeks for the next game against Ross. I think Croke Park’s idea about county players not training until September was a good one.

“But, the main thing is that we’re back playing football after everything’s that happened. I’m delighted with that,” he said.

Michael Hurley and Brian Hodnett. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Michael Hurley and Brian Hodnett. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The Haven also fielded captain Mark Collins, another of their county set, while hurler Damien Cahalane manned the centre-back role.

“I suppose we were lucky that it was Ross we were playing in a local derby. There was a certain edge to it because we owed them one or two.

“We didn’t come here to settle old scores even though we did reference the other games in the build-up.

“The good thing now is that we have two more games and hopefully in the knock-out stages, too.”

Remaining virus-free is uppermost in everyone’s minds.

“I think if we all look after our own patch we should be okay. At the same time sport isn’t life or death either.

“The main thing is sure to ensure we’re all fit and healthy.”

Returning to championship action so soon wasn’t envisaged going back to March-April, when severe restrictions in place.

“When we came back training there was always a worry of overdoing it and getting injured, so we were careful in that aspect.

“As most people know all we were doing during lockdown was running on your own, doing 5ks and 10ks,” Hurley added.

John Cleary, who is joint-manager with James McCarthy, was happy with the start while recognising there’s more work to do.

“I don’t think we played overly well or anything like that though the wind might have been a factor.

“I thought we made a lot of elementary mistakes and didn’t show enough composure at times, but Ross are always hard to play against. We probably should have won by more, but it’s all about winning.

“We’ve two points on the board and we move on now to the next day against Newcestown, who had a huge win over Ilen Rovers. These games against players that they know are always going to be tough and not always free-flowing either.

“The main objective was to win. The bonus would have been to play outstandingly well, which we didn’t.

“But we got the win and can now plan for the next game, when, hopefully, we can play a bit better and win again,” he said.

Despite playing against the strong wind, the Haven managed to be on level terms, 0-7 each, at the break.

“We were four points up only to allow the game slip away from us at times and our mistakes left Ross back into it. The wind won’t win games for you. We said every point was vital.”

The Haven had nine second-half wides to add to their three in the first period.

“Michael Hurley and Jack Cahalane, who made a big difference when he came on, showed a bit of composure. Jack sprayed the ball around well and made it that bit easier for the forwards.

“It was our first championship game, having played only one league game, so that has to be factored in as well.

“You’re not going to be outstanding and we have things to work on,” Cleary concluded.

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