JIM Nolan knows that Castlehaven must do better.
Yes, they beat O’Donovan Rossa to make it through to a fourth county senior football final in five seasons, but the Haven manager acknowledged afterwards that there is huge room for improvement ahead of the decider against Nemo.
Castlehaven might have scored 1-6 inside ten minutes but they managed only 0-7 thereafter, and if Rob Long’s late goal chance for O’Donovan Rossa had been on target then Haven could be preparing for a replay, not a county final.
‘This game was always about getting through to the county final. Today (Sunday) was about getting there. We started well but then Skibbereen settled down and came back into the game,’ Nolan said.
‘We didn’t score for nearly 15 minutes and that allowed Skibb get a foothold in the match and they got a few points to leave only five between us at half time. I thought we controlled good bits of the second half and if we had scored the penalty we would have, probably, been out the gate. Skibb kept coming back and the goal left it too tight in the finish for our liking.
‘We are after two fierce tough tests now (against Ballincollig and O’Donovan Rossa) but we need to improve more to play Nemo. They don’t miss many chances so that’s our challenge – to raise our game to the level we need to beat Nemo. We have lots of room for improvement and we’ll be working on that now for Sunday week.’
There were positives for Nolan, mostly that opening ten minutes when they raced from the traps to move eight points clear. Skibb couldn’t get out of their own half for a short period.
‘We intercepted their kick-out for our goal and we were hoping that we might get something out of those kick-outs. It was something we worked on,’ Nolan explained.
‘Skibb played well on Brian (Hurley) and Michael (Hurley) but we need improvement throughout the team for the next game. The lads know that. We’re delighted to be back in a county final but we have a lot of work to get through to make sure we are ready for Nemo.’
On O’Donovan Rossas’ challenge, Nolan added: ‘They really improved during the year. There is great potential in that team. They’ll be back. I said at the start of the year they were one of the teams that could win the county and they weren’t too far off it.’