BY KIERAN McCARTHY
CASTLEHAVEN manager James McCarthy expects to see two divisional teams in the last four of this year’s Cork SFC.
New rules in place this season see divisional and college teams given an equal status with club sides, and in the earlier rounds of the championship it was noticeable that, as a direct consequence of the rule changes, their results and performances have improved from recent years.
Last season’s beaten finalists Castlehaven take on CIT this Sunday afternoon in Newcestown in a Round 2A tie at 7pm, and McCarthy is bracing himself for a tough test.
‘The new system is suiting divisional and college teams; if you win your first game you are guaranteed three games so they seem to be getting more players out,’ the Haven manager said.
‘Guaranteed, you will see one or two divisional teams in the last four. Every year they were only playing each other but now they can come out and play the club teams. They’ll get more of a kick out of that, playing the top teams like Nemo, than just playing each other every year and being knocked out.’
Castlehaven were pushed all the way in their first round win, 0-14 to 0-13, against Clonakilty in Rosscarbery – a game that saw Haven ace Brian Hurley black-carded after 16 minutes of the first half, as Clon rose to the challenge.
Still, Castlehaven survived to earn, at least, two more games in this competition.
‘I was happy with how we played in the second half and how we showed our experience to close out a game that we didn’t look like winning,’ McCarthy said.
‘Clonakilty brought their A-game and they are after improving big time since last season so we were happy to get the win. The first round is all about winning, especially with the new system because if you win that first round game you are guaranteed three matches.
‘We’ve picked up training since the Clon game and we had a few challenge games, but it’s been hard with fellas on holidays and fellas inside with Cork, we never had a full team out or anywhere near it.’
CIT overcame Newcestown 1-11 to 0-12 in their first round game with Cork senior Peter Kelleher kicking 1-2 that day, and he’s a player that Castlehaven will need to keep quiet on Sunday. Jason Collins (St Mary’s) and Chris Moynihan (Gabriel Rangers) also started for CIT that day, with the latter kicking a point and setting up Kelleher’s goal.