Premier SFC: James McCarthy hails Castlehaven 'knockout' win over Clonakilty

Haven get off to winning start with Nemo Rangers clash to come
Premier SFC: James McCarthy hails Castlehaven 'knockout' win over Clonakilty

Sean White, Clonakilty, attempts to tackle Mark Collins, Castlehaven captain, during their Bon Secours Premier SFC match at Rosscarbery. Picture: Dan Linehan

Castlehaven manager James McCarthy was relieved that his side came through what he termed a ‘knockout’ game in their Bons Secours Hospital Cork Premier SFC opener against Clonakilty in Rosscarbery on Sunday night.

Up by 0-7 to 0-2 at half-time, the Haven conceded a goal to Clon’s Seán McEvoy early in the second half and the game remained close for the remainder. Ultimately, the Haven won out by 0-10 to 1-8 to set themselves up for a joust with Nemo Rangers in just under three weeks.

“I was happy with the first half,” McCarthy said, “I wouldn’t happy with the second half.

“But, again, we were playing a team that were only a kick of a ball away from winning the county last year. We knew they weren’t going to sit back and take it.

“When Clon came out and played, they were the better team – you could say that they were the better team in the second half. But we kept ahead of them, we were up two points all the time.

“We had a brilliant first half, I thought – we controlled the game in the first half. We lost our shape a bit in the second half, we had two or three injuries. Damien controls the backs and he went off.

“But, the main thing here with the first game is always to get the two points and it doesn’t matter how you play, it’s about getting over the line. It’d be easier on my heart alright if we played better, but we’re happy with the two points.”

With Damien and Conor Cahalane on the Cork hurling panel and other players injured, the Haven were not able to prepare fully for the opener.

“To be fair, the Cahalanes are absolutely super to train,” McCarthy said, “but we had only played one game with everyone together.

“After every Cork game, we gave them ten days off – you have to get your mind right and refuel again. They have to be fresh for the summer again and, as well as that, they’re playing with the Barrs.

“Number 1 is the player here and I don’t believe in flogging fellas. This is a three-game series, to get out of this is the key and get into the quarter-final.

“The lads who are hurling go away now, we’ll have them the week before the next match.

“That’s the way it is, we’re used to that. It’s a brilliant championship – you look at the results from the weekend and it’s clear that the leagues don’t matter.

“Leagues only get fellas up to speed – we used 35 fellas. Mallow won last night after being relegated to Division 3.”

For Castlehaven, a clash with Nemo in Clonakilty on Saturday, August 13 is the next assignment. The city club beat the Haven in the delayed 2020 county final at the end of August last year but were eliminated from the group stages of the 2021 competition and showed with a win over Newcestown that they are keen to regain the crown.

“They were outstanding on Saturday night, I was watching them,” McCarthy said.

“Themselves and the Barrs are the top two, but we’d be thinking that we’re close enough to them.

“That one is a group game more than a knockout, whereas tonight was effectively knockout. Either ourselves or Clon would have to knock Nemo out of it then, with no disrespect to Newcestown.”

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