IN Brian and Michael Hurley, Castlehaven have an inside duo to match any in the county and if you would had been told that they would only combine for three points on Sunday, you would have marked it down as a defeat with a good degree of certainty.
That they didn’t lose was because Mark Collins’ nine points underpinned the 15-point total but in analysing the game, the Haven backroom team will know the brothers weren’t given enough quality ball to influence the scoreboard.
Manager Liam Collins cited clever tactical fouling out the field by Duhallow as being a key factor in stymieing any Haven momentum. Chris Hayes’s red card was born of frustration from the regular slowing down of the blue and white flow.
Those Duhallow indiscretions began to happen closer to goal as they sat back in the closing stages, inviting the West Cork side on to them. Collins was able to punish any indiscipline but just as important was a cutting loose by the Haven, knowing that there was nothing to be gained by being ponderous.
An element of inexperience within the team perhaps contributed to a safety-first approach with the methodical move-building for the first half and much of the second, but any nerves will have been put to bed now. In many ways, it’s the ideal scenario as they seek to ‘pinpoint all areas’ in terms of improvement – generally, the bad performance will have led to a defeat with a wait of six months to put things right, but this time they can do that with a week’s turnaround.
That poses problems in physical terms, but mentally the Haven can draw upon the experience of having drawn with CIT earlier in the campaign and learning lessons which were then put into practice before the replay was won.
Conor Cahalane, struggling with a virus the past while, made an impact after he came on last week and the game-time will have helped him to move closer to full fitness. Against that is the fact that Anthony O’Connor got two points after coming on for Duhallow – his first championship action of the year – and his inclusion would be a big threat.
However, the most important thing is for the Haven to focus on the other end, with fast movement of the ball to the men who can do the most damage. Coming in with the psychological high of having survived, that could be the difference.