BY GER McCARTHY
IT has been a trying year on the inter-county scene for the Cork senior footballers and Paul Kerrigan is glad that Nemo Rangers’ run to the county final has helped eradicate the memory of a disappointing provincial and All-Ireland campaign.
Kerrigan has faced off against Castlehaven on many occasions during his club career and recognises Brian Hurley as their primary threat whilst also respecting the ability of the other Haven forwards.
‘I’ve been playing against the Haven for over ten years now when they didn’t have the likes of the Hurleys in their starting line-up but now they have a serious bunch of marquee forwards since those lads came through,’ said Kerrigan.
‘In Brian and Michael Hurley they possess two outstanding footballers but they have lots of other weapons in there as well like Shane Nolan, Damien Cahalane, Mark Collins and Stephen Hurley.
‘Our backs will certainly have their hands full but as a unit, I thought our defence did very well against Carbery Rangers in the way they covered for one another. We were particularly happy with that first-half display, maybe not as much with the second in conceding ten points.
‘For Nemo to win on Sunday, we are going to have to find a way of keeping their danger-men quiet. We pride ourselves, in the forwards, on our defensive workrate and that will be key to helping out our defence.
‘Dylan Mehigan’s absence has been a huge factor for us as well this year. So we, the forwards, came together as a group before the semi-final and made sure we were all going to up our workrate and compensate for Dylan’s absence. We may have to do the same against Castlehaven.’
The build-up to this year’s county final is gathering pace as Sunday fast approaches but Kerrigan is confident that the Nemo Rangers’ squad and backroom team have enough experience to cocoon themselves from all the hype and excitement.
‘It was an odd feeling after losing last year’s semi-final because, obviously, you are no longer part of the championship and you really miss the buzz around the county final build-up,’ admitted the Cork inter-county star.
‘It is a great feeling to be back training on Tuesdays and Thursdays at this time of the year and with a county final to look forward to.
‘Things have really picked up in terms of hype now that the two hurling finals have been completed. The squad is just focussed on building towards Sunday and producing another big performance like we did against Carbery Rangers and St Nick’s in the previous rounds. We are just hoping to come out on the right side of the result.’