BY KIERAN McCARTHY
CASTLEHAVEN will park their poor league form to one side ahead of Saturday night’s championship derby with Carbery Rangers.
The Haven have only won one of their ten Kelleher Shield games this season and currently prop up the Division 1 table – but manager Liam Collins feels performances have been more encouraging that their poor position suggests.
‘If you’re looking at our league campaign we have played well in certain parts of games but to get a 60-minute performance has been really difficult for us. We’re not as consistent as we want to be,’ Collins conceded.
‘We’ve been trying out a lot of players in different positions and for most of the league we haven’t had our Cork players – Mark Collins, Michael Hurley, Damien Cahalane and Conor Cahalane – available to us. When they’re not available we can’t play the type of football that we want to so it’s hard to get that consistency then.’
Consistency has obviously been an issue for Castlehaven in the league but the championship has brought them wins against CIT (1-14 to 0-12) and Carbery (1-11 to 0-11) so they have been able to rise to the challenge, thanks mainly to Cork senior Mark Collins.
Haven have scored 2-25 in the championship, Collins has racked up 1-16 of that. There’s an over dependency on him in Brian Hurley’s continued absence and Castlehaven will need more from their attack if they are serious about dethroning champions Ross.
Collins aside, Haven’s forwards have scored 1-7 in the wins against CIT and Carbery (Conor O’Driscoll 1-0, Shane Nolan and Seanie Cahalane 0-2 each, Michael Hurley and Conor Cahalane 0-1 each), so that’s one area where Liam Collins will demand improvement for Saturday’s game.
‘We played very well in parts against Carbery in the last round but there’s a lot of improving to do,’ Collins admitted.
‘Our scoring ratio from shots was quite poor. We missed quite a lot.
‘We need to take our chances against Ross. We won’t get too many chances so the ones we do get we need to take them.’
The last time Castlehaven and Ross met in the Cork SFC was a 2014 fourth-round replay in Clonakilty, a game Ross won 2-14 to 1-8 and where Liam Collins started in the Haven defence. It’s not a match any Haven player will remember fondly and to avoid a repeat result this Saturday, Collins, in his first year as senior manager, explains what needs to happen.
‘For us to win, everything needs to go right for us,’ he said, matter-of-factly.
‘Ross play a very structured game that has been very productive for them but we need to get our match-ups right, everything will need to go our way and we need every fella to play as well as he can.
‘We’ll be confident that we can give a good account of ourselves and that things will go right for us. There won’t be much between the teams and hopefully we’ll end up on the right side.
‘Ross are the top team in the county at the minute and we are in a transition period. That’s the reality of where both teams are at. Whether we can compete at that level, it’s hard to know because we haven’t had a test against a team of their calibre all year. We’re confident we can.’
Johnny O’Regan (back injury) and Stephen Collins (groin) remain long-term absentees while the trio of Sean Dineen, David Limerick and Ronan Walsh have been struggling with various niggles but should all be fit to feature.