FORMER Carbery Rangers football manager – and current Southern Star columnist – Micheál ‘Haulie’ O’Sullivan has urged Clonakilty to speed up their attack to maximise their chances of qualifying for the county final.
Having watched Clon en route to the Cork Premier SFC semi-finals, O’Sullivan feels they have what it takes to beat Douglas on Sunday afternoon, but key to springing a surprise is getting the ball into their forwards faster.
‘Clon need to speed up their play going forward,’ O’Sullivan told this week’s Star Sport Podcast.
‘The likes of Liam O’Donovan and Sean White, two very good players, they take an awful lot out of the ball when they are on it, they solo it a lot. We saw that for long periods against Duhallow, the fast service just wasn’t there for the likes of Dara Ó Sé, young Conor Daly, (Ross) Mannix, (Sean) McEvoy and (David) Lowney.
‘They are not contributing enough on the scoreboard but there are two sides to that story because they are not getting the ball quick enough either. I think if they can get that ball in there quicker those lads have pace and they are capable of contributing one or two points each which would be what’s needed on top of what Ó Sé is going to score from frees and play.’
O’Sullivan isn’t surprised to see Clonakilty in the last four of the county for the first time since 2010. Having Mike ‘Haulie’ O’Neill back in the hot seat as manager this year and the addition of a handful of new players these past few seasons has strengthened Clon’s hand.
‘I’m not surprised. I would have felt that they were underachieving for the last number of years. Knowing a lot of their players from schools’ football they have a group of talented players,’ O’Sullivan said.
‘What Haulie O’Neill and Neil Deasy have brought this year is a discipline and a respect to the squad, which may have been needed. They brought a new steel to the squad, too.
‘They have been lucky enough to get three new players in (Ben) Ridgeway, (Joe) Grimes and Dara Ó Sé from outside. Any time that you can bring in players or have players come in to your community to fill central positions on your football team, it makes a huge difference, as it did with us in Carbery Rangers for years when Robbie Kiely came to us. As it turns out, Grimes and Ó Sé are probably in Clon’s top five players.’