BY DENIS HURLEY
CLONAKILTY manager Paul Holland hopes that his side can take the harsh lessons from their championship opener when they meet Muskerry in Newcestown on Saturday evening (7.30pm).
Having suffered a 2-15 to 1-4 defeat against neighbours and county champions Carbery Rangers in their first outing, Clon face the Mid-Cork division in a round 2B clash and the terms of engagement are clear – the losers are out of the championship.
Injuries deprive Clon of Cork star Tom Clancy (foot) and Ross Mannix (knee), but otherwise the same panel as featured against Ross is available, along with the returning Seán White. Holland is eager to show that that was not an accurate representation of the side’s qualities.
‘We’ve played a few challenge games since the Ross match,’ he says, ‘and we beat Castlehaven in the league too.
‘We’ve trained well and we’re anxious to give a better showing. We’d have had our own plans for what to do against Ross but it didn’t work out, we couldn’t cope with the physicality of their football. It was a lesson learned, hopefully.’
Jonathan Leahy with 1-1 was Clon’s main score-getter against Ross, but Denis Murphy, Jack O’Mahony and David Lowney can all make their presence felt too. White, who has been dogged with injuries, will provide a driving force around the middle while his brother Mark in goal is another key team member.
In terms of scouting the opposition, Holland is at a disadvantage as Muskerry don’t play in the league, but the divisional side, who lost to Duhallow in their opener, have the uncertainty of player availability which is a perennial concern.
‘I went to the Duhallow match,’ Holland says, ‘and I think they only had six of the 15 that were listed in the programme.
‘That’s the way it is for the divisions and it means that you don’t know who they’ll have – we had the same situation last year when we came up against CIT.
‘It just means that we have to focus on ourselves and make sure that everything we do is right. The level of performance has to be increased from the last day and we’ll have to face up to the challenge in front of us.
‘It’s knockout championship football and we have to show that we’re good enough to move on to the next round.