BY KIERAN McCARTHY
CLONAKILTY senior football manager Paul Holland has questioned the county board’s fixing of Saturday’s Cork SFC Round 2B clash with St Nick’s as five Clon players currently sitting their Leaving Certificate exams could miss the fixture.
Clon young guns Mark White, David Lowney, Sean McEvoy, Ross Mannix and Liam O’Donovan all started the 0-14 to 0-13 round one loss to Castlehaven, but the quintet are expected to miss out on Saturday’s crunch clash with St Nick’s – and Holland feels they should have been treated better.
‘Five of the team that started against Castlehaven, and who acquitted themselves well, are currently sitting their Leaving Cert exams. We haven’t seen them since that game and, unfortunately, the county board fixed this game during the Leaving Cert so we won’t see them this weekend either, which is a massive blow for us,’ Holland explained.
‘It’s very unlikely any of those five players will be involved because they all have exams on Monday and Tuesday after the game.
‘The county board needs to look at situations like this. Some of these lads have played inter-county minor, given a year or two of their school-going years to trying to make Cork inter-county teams and then when they’re doing their Leaving Cert they are ruled out of playing with their club, which is harsh.
‘It’s now up to the team to make sure that these players are given another chance of senior football this season.’
Holland admits that preparation for Saturday night’s game in Bandon (7.30pm) has been disjointed, as Clon look to exorcise the ghosts of last year’s disastrous Cork SFC campaign. Having been beaten by St Nick’s (1-8 to 0-7) in round three last year in Bandon, almost exactly a year to the day, Clon will look to set the record straight this Saturday – but new manager Holland is wary of Nick’s threat.
‘The lads can’t afford to forget last year. Clon were favourites going into that game but Nick’s won it, probably more comfortably than the final score suggests. Nick’s have a great tradition of senior football and every year they get a result, and after last year the Clonakilty players know not to underestimate them,’ Holland said.
‘The pressure is on now because the reality is that if we lose on Sunday our championship is over. It’s do-or-die.
‘To be honest, we were disappointed not to come away with the win against Castlehaven, we introduced a lot of young fellas into the team who proved they are capable of performing at that level so we’ll try to build on that now.’