THE decision to switch things up paid off for Castlehaven captain Mark Collins in Sunday night’s Bon Secours Hospital Cork Premier SFC semi-final penalty shootout win over St Finbarr’s.
Collins, having scored his and his team’s first spot-kick, netted the sudden-death winner to give the Haven victory after 80 minutes of football saw the sides tied at 1-13 each.
With the regulation five penalties each leaving the sides tied 3-3, goalkeepers Anthony Seymour of the Haven and the Barrs’ Patrick O’Neill saving two each, the contest went to sudden-death.
When the Barrs’ Cillian Myers Murray, who had earlier scored, saw his penalty come back off the crossbar, it fell to Collins to try to win it for his side and his decision to go the opposite way to the earlier one paid off.
‘I changed,’ he said.
‘I went to the keeper’s right the first time and when they missed, I was asking the lads if I should go different. They just said to make up my mind and go for it!
‘Walking up, I just decided I’d go the opposite way.’
What made the shootout win all the more impressive for the West Cork side was the fact that Collins’s inter-county colleagues Brian and Michael Hurley had had to depart injured in extra time.
‘We actually had a chat about it before the game and Brian was our designated penalty-taker,’ Collins said.
‘With him going off, as captain and everything, I wanted to take responsibility and step up. That was my thinking behind it when we went to penalties.
‘We had three or four that were definite and then, to be fair, we had others putting up their hand.
‘Rory Maguire, it’s his first year starting with us, but he has played a bit of soccer and there was absolutely no bother in taking it.
‘That was the clutch one, really – if he missed, we were out so he showed unbelievable nerve to stick that one.’
In the final, they face Nemo Rangers in a game that had been scheduled for next Sunday but is now without a date, however Collins is happy to wait.
‘It was a fantastic feeling on Sunday night when it was over,’ he said, ‘there was an unbelievable buzz.
‘When you win a semi-final, you have to settle down and realise that you’ve nothing won yet.
‘We’re delighted to be there and it’s great to have a final to look forward to, whenever it’s played. We know what we’ll be up against from Nemo, they’re the kingpins of Cork football and they’re always there or thereabouts.’