BY JOHNNY CAROLAN
NEWCESTOWN’S dreams of a hurling and football double face another stiff test this weekend as they take on Carrigtwohill in Saturday’s Co-op SuperStores Cork Senior A Hurling Championship semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh (4pm).
Having overcome Kanturk on penalties in a senior A football quarter-final last Sunday, there is little time to bask in the glow of that victory, with manager Charlie Wilson hoping that a clean bill of health can be provided.
‘There are a lot of bruised and battered bodies,’ he says.
‘There are a few niggling bits and pieces and injury concerns but we’d be hopeful that all will be ready to go.
‘It’s the nature of the beast but a six-day turnaround is very tight, it’s a tough one. We just have to wait and see how fare out, how fellas’ bodies are and how they feel.
‘We’ll take it step by step – manage fellas and look after them, be honest with them and have them be honest with us.
‘They’re good at that anyway and I think we’ll manage all that.’
The flip side is that, with so many dual players, Newcestown are able to take confidence from each victory, whatever the code. Just as the hurling quarter-final victory helped in terms of overcoming Kanturk, now they will look to once again draw from the well of belief that comes from championship victories.
‘Momentum is a massive thing,’ Wilson says.
‘The football last week was one of those battles. We’ve had a lot of battles with Kanturk over the last few years – even though we’re at opposite ends of the county, it’s a rivalry that’s nearly had a life of its own and it’s not even tied to one code or the other.
‘To come out of that is definitely a mental boost. There’s a bounce out of it and, once the bodies are good, that bounce will be very beneficial.’
Having won their opening two group games, Newcestown failed to take the opportunity of an automatic semi-final spot as they lost to the already-eliminated Courcey Rovers. However, there was no hangover from that loss against Killeagh, with Wilson pleased at how the team reset and refocused.
‘Parking it was exactly what it was,’ he says.
‘I think fellas knew themselves that they under-performed and that there was more in us and we could go at it again.
‘We just had to focus. We would have seen Killeagh as a big test and we concentrated on that and gave them all the respect that was due.
‘It meant our fellas focused correctly and properly and drove for it and it worked out in our favour.’
Now, another East Cork side stands in the way of Newcestown and a place in the final against either Bride Rovers or Blarney, who meet in the other semi-final at 6pm.
There’s not a lot of recent history to draw upon, but Wilson knows that nobody gets to a semi-final by accident.
‘It’s a good few years now since we played Carrigtwohill, particularly in the championship,’ he says. ‘But don’t you worry, we’ll have a good idea about them and they’ll have a fair idea about us as well.
‘We would consider this to be an extremely stiff test, a hard, hard one. They, rightly so, got to a semi-final and anyone who does that has to be respected. They got there on merit, they topped their group, and we have to look at them as table-toppers. Like Killeagh, we have to give them the respect they deserve and focus in on that game and give it our all.’