BY KIERAN McCARTHY
LIAM Collins has endured a baptism of fire in his first senior managerial role.
The 36-year-old took over the reigns of his home club Castlehaven earlier this year and both injuries and results haven’t been kind to his maiden campaign.
After four Division 1 FL losses in a row, Castlehaven had to wait until early April for their first league win, against Ilen Rovers, but it’s the injury list that is more worrying for Collins.
Brian Hurley’s second serious hamstring injury has ruled him out for the season, Damien Cahalane has been struggling with an Achilles tendon strain, Mark Collins has been troubled with a knee injury while Roland Whelton is also rated doubtful for Monday’s Cork SFC opener against CIT in Newcestown (3pm).
With Hurley definitely out, Liam Collins is planning for this tie without Cahalane, Collins and Whelton, but there was good news for Mark Collins earlier this week when he learned that his knee injury isn’t as serious as first feared – but he’s still ‘touch and go’ for Monday.
‘We have to plan without the three of them and it’s not looking good,’ Liam Collins said.
‘We’re going to wait until the last minute to make a call on Damien, Mark has a knee problem, he had a scan that showed some sort of a tear, so he’s a big doubt as well.
‘Roland had a kidney problem, he had surgery last week and has several stitches in his stomach.’
Without many leading figures, Castlehaven will need to turn to their young guns on Monday against CIT – a repeat of last year’s Round 2A game at the same venue that the West Cork team won by 4-17 to 3-9.
Castlehaven’s U21s are through to the South West U21A FC semi-final with Michael Hurley, Conor Cahalane, David Whelton and Ronan Walsh all catching the eye.
‘A good few of the U21 lads were impressive again last Sunday against Kilmeen (in the South West semi-final) and they are pushing for places. That brings freshness when you have young, enthusiastic fellas pushing for places. If they play well enough they deserve a chance, but you don’t want to have too many young fellas on either in the senior championship; you need experience and a good blend,’ said three-time Cork SFC winner Collins.
‘We have been down a lot of lads in the league as well so we had to blood a few of the younger fellas.
‘It’s difficult when you don’t have your main players. If we had them, we’d be in a better position but a lot of clubs are in the same position as us.’
Another player Castlehaven are without this season is Dermot Hurley, who has transferred to Éire Óg and played for the Mid Cork side in the Cork PIFC win against Grenagh last weekend.
‘Dermot felt his time was up, he was an unbelievable servant to Castlehaven and we really did miss him and his presence around midfield in our league games this year – but time moves on,’ Collins said.
‘It’s a chance for someone else to stand up now and take their opportunity when it comes.’