BY DENIS HURLEY
CARBERY manager Gene O’Driscoll makes no bones about the fact that he is pleased to be facing into a county SFC replay against Ilen Rovers on Sunday.
Castlehaven at 3.30pm on Sunday is once again the venue for the game between the teams who couldn’t be separated over 80 minutes a fortnight ago. Given how difficult it can be to convene a divisional squad, another championship game is ideal for Carbery, O’Driscoll feels.
‘As a manager, you go through a lot of emotions after a game like the drawn one,’ he says.
‘People will say we should have won or we should have lost, that’s all fine, but the bottom line was that a draw was perfect as it gives us another match and quality championship games are hard to replicate.
‘Now, there is obviously a double-edged sword in that club fixtures will interfere. The last time out, Bantry played the night before and this weekend there are Carbery hurling games, one was brought forward from Sunday to Saturday but we still have four players involved on Saturday, which isn’t ideal.
‘We’ll get together once before the replay.’
Carbery were without former Cork captain Graham Canty and current county squad members Ruairí Deane and Alan O’Connor for the first game, when they scored 16 points against the 1-13 of Ilen.
O’Driscoll expects to have Canty back, while he admits that the likelihood of fielding Deane and O’Connor is out of his hands.
‘To be fair to Graham, we wouldn’t have asked him to play the day after lining out for Bantry,’ he says.
‘He’ll be back and the situation with Ruairí is that he picked up a hamstring injury but we’re hoping to get the green light for Sunday.
‘It’s a call that’ll be made by Cork and, given the history with injuries that he has had, it’s not something you want to take a chance on. If he’s rated at 100 percent, he’ll play but if not then we’ll back off, the last thing you want to do is force matters.
‘Alan won’t be playing and it’s the same scenario as Ruairí. He’s not fully fit and you have to accept that. As well as that, Brian O’Driscoll is out as he picked up a hamstring injury in the junior championship and we could be missing a few others who started or came on as well.’
Brian O’Driscoll, Gene’s son, scored seven points in the first game, while Richie O’Sullivan kicked three and Eddie Goggin got too.
In contrast to Carbery’s limited preparation time, Ilen will have had more of a chance to work together and will welcome back Kevin O’Sullivan, who missed the drawn game as he was on honeymoon and featured in the junior championship against O’Driscoll’s club Tadhg Mac Cárthaigh last weekend.
But Ilen have been hit with some bad news with both Daniel O’Driscoll (ruptured Achilles) and Stephen Leonard (fractured thumb) facing long spells on the sideline, while Paddy Minihane (back injury) is a doubt for Sunday’s game.
‘It’s a disaster for us, we need everyone that we have, and both Daniel and Stephen could be out for the season which is a big blow,’ explained Ilen manager Ed Sheehy.
‘Kevin O’Sullivan is back after missing the last game and we have Eoin O’Driscoll returning as well so we have a few options coming back.
‘We’ll need a big performance on Sunday, we’re ready for the game and if we play as well as we know we can then we have a very good chance. We know we have the ability so we just need to show that on Sunday and hopefully it will be enough.’
The winners of Sunday’s game will face a round 2A tie against Castlehaven, while the losers have a round 2B engagement with city side St Nicholas.