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  • Sport

Cahalane I am 100 per cent Cork football this season

Thursday, 10th January, 2013 9:17am
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Cahalane I am 100 per cent Cork football this season

Cork’s Damian Cahalane takes the ball out of defence as David Lordan and Denis Crowley, CIT, look on during the McGrath Cup preliminary round game last Sunday. (Photo: George Hatchell)

By Kieran McCarthy

DAMIEN Cahalane has committed to the Cork senior footballers for the season ahead.

The talented dual star, who was part of Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s Cork senior hurling panel last year, has decided to concentrate fully on his football career this year.

The county championship-winning Castlehaven footballer informed Barry-Murphy of his decision last week not to re-join the county senior hurling panel this season.

But last season’s county SFC Player of the Year has admitted that if the Cork U21 hurling team approaches him this season – his last year as an U21 player – then he will play with them.

‘I am 100 per cent Cork football this year,’ Cahalane confirmed to The Southern Star.

‘It was a very hard decision to make. I took my time before making a final call on it. For a small while, I thought about possibly doing the two sports but maybe in a way I came to my senses again and I told myself it was one or the other. I didn’t want to be falling in between two stools.

‘With Castlehaven and St Finbarr’s, when you are involved in one county set-up you are missing out on a lot of club activity, not to mind if you were involved with the two.

‘I rang Jimmy Barry during the week and I told him I was going to go with the football for the year. In fairness, he thanked me for the year last year. I thanked him for giving me the chance. We left it on good terms.

‘It’s a big year for me, my last as an U21. We have the U21 Munster championship coming up, and if the U21 hurlers want to take a look at me, I’ll play with them as they are my age-group.’

Impressive

On the back of several impressive displays for Castlehaven in last year’s county SFC, Cork boss Conor Counihan approached Cahalane, to tempt him into the football set-up for 2013.

Damien, son of former Cork football great Niall Cahalane, made his first appearance as a Cork senior footballer with an assured and confident display at corner back in last Sunday’s 1-15 to 1-11 McGrath Cup preliminary round match against CIT at the Cork college’s grounds.

‘It was enjoyable. Seventy-minute games are obviously longer than what I am used to but I had a bit of experience of them from being with the hurlers last year,’ Cahalane said.

‘It was a good run out to start with but the hard work lies ahead now.

‘I took a bit of a break in December after the Munster club final to let the body recover a bit but I was back in hard training last week. It was a tough week but I’m looking forward to a few more tough weeks ahead.

‘This helps me get to know the lads as well. I know a lot of them from playing against them, and I’d have played U21 and minor with a few of them, and the next few weeks will be about trying to improve my worth and hold a place on the panel.’

The news that Cahalane has decided to concentrate on football this year is a further blow to the Cork hurlers who also lost fellow West Cork hurler, Darren Sweetnam, to Munster rugby last year when the Doheny GAA Club star signed a professional contract with the province.

There is also uncertainty surrounding high profile dual star Eoin Cadogan who has over the past few years lined out for both the footballers and the hurlers. He is expected to make a decision soon on whether to continue his dual role or concentrate on just one code.

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