IT’S a busy summer on and off the pitch for Cork hurler Damien Cahalane, but so far it’s been a successful one.
As well as being ever-present as the Rebels have come to within a game of retaining their Munster title, he has been getting his new bar Cahalane’s off the ground. Based on Hanover St in Cork, the hostelry has a sporting theme and its owner has been heartened by the reaction to date.
‘Very good, yeah,’ he says.
‘We are open nearly three weeks and it has been going great. We have had great support from the Cork public. I’m really happy with it, hopefully it’ll continue.
‘I’ve done a bit of work behind the bar but mostly I am managing the place.
‘We have good staff inside there, that have given me a great opportunity to live out my passion of playing hurling for Cork and for the moment, that is the priority with the Munster final coming up.
‘I have huge amount of praise and thanks for the staff for letting me do that.’
Of course, any such venture by its nature involves quite a lot of interaction with the public but it’s not something Cahalane has a problem with.
‘I’ve had good support from the Cork public,’ he says, ‘and, you know what, I don’t mind that.
‘A lot of people don’t like talking about hurling outside of hurling but at the end of the day, I am a sports fan as well, so I don’t mind chatting about Cork.’
Chatting about Cork has been a mostly positive experience this summer.
John Meyler’s side have reached Sunday’s final after topping the round-robin section, but Cahalane is keen that that isn’t the pinnacle.
‘We started out at the start of the campaign, the aim was to qualify out of Munster and ensure we are in the top three,’ he says.
‘To finish top and be in the Munster final is an added bonus, but that doesn’t really count for anything if we don’t get a performance on Sunday.’
Cork’s previous game against Clare was a five-point win at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the opening round of games, but Cahalane doesn’t place much store in that in terms of Sunday.
‘I wouldn’t think the first match has any relevance, to be honest,’ he says.
‘I knew going into game one against Clare, we knew that we would have to bring our A game to get a performance against them. And even at that, you are still not guaranteed getting a result.
‘They have improved in the meantime and we are going to have to go up and beyond what we did the first day. It is a whole new game, a game on its own merits and we just have to try and get a performance the next day.’
On a personal level, the performances have been to a consistently high level over the past two campaigns. Cahalane attributes that to the input of Diarmuid O’Sullivan, who was part of Kieran Kingston’s backroom team, and the confidence gained as a result.
‘Growing up as a Cork supporter, Diarmuid O’Sullivan was always a huge figure,’ he says.
‘When you got to be coached by him then, you were extra vigilant in taking advice on board from him. Definitely, everything that he has worked on with me over the last few years has been carried on this year.
‘A lot of it came from confidence too, and that came from management and when I got a vote of confidence from the Cork public and that probably fed into how I was playing afterwards.’