JERRY O’Mahony has challenged his Dohenys team to break even in the midfield battle with O’Donovan Rossa in Sunday’s Carbery U21A FC final at Castlehaven (3.15pm throw-in).
The Dunmanway team will start the divisional decider as slight favourites against last year’s U21B champions – but O’Mahony is very wary of the Skibbereen threat.
‘We have to get a fair share of possession around the middle. Skibb are strong there so we need to break even. To win any football game you need to get a certain amount of ball in the middle,’ explains O’Mahony who was pleased with what he saw from his team in their 0-20 to 1-13 semi-final win against Carbery Rangers last weekend.
They have to plan for this final without long-term absentee Eoin Murray while Nathan O’Donovan, who came on as a sub against Ross, is struggling with a knock. O’Donovan is one of a number of Doheny players who were involved in the 2017 Dohenys team that won this title, along with Mark Buckley, Fionn Herlihy and Keith White who can all cause O’Donovan Rossa’s defence plenty of problems on Sunday.
Skibb boss Shane Crowley is well aware of the challenge that the Doheny attack poses. ‘Some people talked about Carbery Rangers at the start of the year as the team to watch but we felt with Dohenys, and especially their forward line with Fionn Herlihy and Mark Buckley, they have fantastic forwards, so it’s up to us to get our match-ups right,’ he says.
The Skibbereen team is in good form right now and building momentum. They had four games in the Glenville Cup and now wins against Clonakilty (1-12 to 1-7) and Castlehaven (1-12 to 1-8) have seen them qualify for the U21A final in their first year back up at this grade.
Dyaln Hourihane, Sean Fitzgerald and Rory Byrne are three important players but Crowley was encouraged to see other players stand up in the semi-final against the Haven. Alan Nott, Eoin Fitzgerald and Padraig O’Neill were all praised by Crowley, as was young Luke Connolly who came on for Kevin Hurley after eight minutes and played ‘outstanding’.
Hurley is set to miss the final with a hamstring injury and Skibb will also be without Darren Daly who broke his collarbone when playing with the Skibbereen U18 rugby team in their Munster Cup final win last Sunday. Rugby commitments meant that Skibb were without Jamie Shanahan last weekend, and while Skibbereen RFC U18s are in an All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday, Crowley is hopeful that Shanahan, Oisin Lucey and Adam O’Regan will all be available for Sunday.
Work-rate is a buzz word for the Rossas who are still developing but have passed both tests put in front of them in this campaign. How they handle Buckley and Herlihy in the Dohenys attack will have a big say on the outcome.