BRIAN McCarthy knows West Cork must play better in Sunday’s county final replay, but he also feels they can raise their game to the next level.
No matter what anyone says, champions Mourneabbey were the favourites last weekend, and they’re still the favourites for the rematch in Cloughduv on Sunday. But West Cork, in their first-ever county senior football final, will take great encouragement from going toe-to-toe with the five-in-a-row chasing champions and holding their own. McCarthy agrees.
‘The biggest lesson we learned is that on our day we can be as competitive as anyone else,’ he says.
‘The general consensus before the game was that Mourneabbey were raging hot favourites. They still are. They have to be. Look at their record, quality of players, big-game experience, great coach, so for us to come up against all that and hold our own says a lot about the quality of our players.
‘We have some experienced players but none had played in a county senior A final before last Saturday, so that experience should stand to us for this Sunday. Mourneabbey might say that they didn’t play well on the day but give us credit for how we played, and we’ve more to come. I want us to improve even more.’
That improvement is key. Whichever team learns the most from the drawn game and improves the most will win the replay, says McCarthy.
‘100 per cent, we have to play better,’ he points out.
‘We know Mourneabbey won’t give us anything easy and we expect that. But we know that we can play better. There were areas last Saturday that we were happy with and others we weren’t so we have room for improvement.
‘I’m expecting a better Mourneabbey. They’ll readjust to what we threw at them. So we need to raise our game.’