BY GER McCARTHY
CASTLEHAVEN’S Conor Cahalane and Michael Hurley are looking forward to another Clona Milk West Cork U21 A football decider against Clonakilty having come through two rigorous championship ties.
Reaching a fourth consecutive West Cork U21 A final is all the sweeter for Castlehaven having overcome Bandon and Ilen Rovers in the past fortnight.
Conor Cahalane and Michael Hurley have played important roles in helping John Cleary’s side qualify for this year’s decider against Clonakilty – their third meeting in as many years – and the duo is hoping the Union Hall club can defeat their biggest rivals at this particular grade.
‘Those games will definitely stand to us alright although we certainly made it hard for ourselves against Bandon and Ilen in the past two weeks,’ said Castlehaven forward Conor Cahalane.
‘We failed to show up during the first half in both games. We know we really have to push on now in the coming week and prepare as best as we possibly can for the final.’
Castlehaven manager John Cleary also believes that his young charges will benefit from their two games against Bandon and Ilen.
‘Overcoming such two tough games against Bandon and Ilen Rovers will definitely stand to us in the final,’ Cleary said.
‘We are out again straight away this Sunday and I don’t know what affect playing extra time against Ilen will have on us considering so many of the lads were going down with cramp. The most important thing is that we are in the final and we will go off and prepare for next weekend.’
Rising Cork U21 inter-county prospect and Castlehaven full forward Michael Hurley had a quiet game by his own high standards during the semi-final victory over Ilen. Hurley picked the best possible moment to grab his first point of the game however, taking the last four encounter to extra time with the final kick of an enthralling match up.
‘I was absolutely delighted to get the score that took the game to extra time on a day I played one of my poorer games, to be honest with you,’ admitted Hurley.
‘It was a great team performance to come back from three points down but it really doesn’t matter who gets the scores as long we get them.’
A strong team ethic has been one of the most important components in Castlehaven reaching another U21 decider.
Going up against a talented Clonakilty side will not faze a squad that has tasted defeat in their previous two meetings with the Brewery Town.
‘Most of our squad played in last year’s final against Clonakilty and the year before as well so there will be nothing much new in the build-up,’ noted Conor Cahalane.
‘Hopefully, the experience of playing in so many finals will stand to us and the fact that we have a more settled squad.
‘We have a great team ethic within the group that is always a big help. All the players have come up through the age-grades together; I’m coming down to the pitch since I was six years old so we are just looking forward to it (final) now.’