THIS is a huge game for Newcestown in the county senior A hurling championship.
Beat Cloyne on Saturday (7pm in Church Road) by five points in their final Group 1 game, and they’re through to the quarter-finals, regardless of the result between Fermoy and Mallow.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, with injuries mounting, their manager Cha Wilson is aware of the challenge that lies ahead.
‘It’s a big game for us. This is our third year in a row playing Cloyne. We beat them in the last two meetings by reasonably big margins,’ said Wilson.
‘Cloyne are a different team this year though. They’re far more attacking than last year. We can’t afford a slip up. Our biggest concern is we have quite a few injuries; we won’t know until last minute who's in position to play or not. That’s a difficult one for us.’
Being a dual club at the top level tends to be very difficult for clubs like Newcestown, sspecially given that games are now happening nearly every week. They are fretting over about five players before the big game.
‘David Buckley looks to have a serious hamstring injury, going off in the football against Clon. Sean O’Donovan missed that game with a broken foot. Colm Dineen missed it because he had two broken fingers from the hurling match prior to that,’ Wilson admitted.
‘We’ve picked up other injuries since then too. Podge Collins has picked up a hamstring injury, then we have a few fellas that would be part of the bench injured as well.
‘The intensity has risen between the league, championship and harder ground. We haven’t had an unfortunate run like this for a number of years. This year though is putting us under severe pressure and making us struggle.’
As regards to the game, it is an important one, a match to determine if Newcestown make the quarter-finals. Wilson believes it’s in the West Cork club’s own hands though.
‘A win is the most important thing. If we win by five, the other game won’t affect us. Anytime our lads put on a Newcestown jersey they give it everything, there’s no two ways about that. If we do show that hunger and drive, I have no doubt we’ll get a result,’ he said.
Despite beating Cloyne twice in the last two seasons, the Carbery men are still wary of the threats they pose.
‘The more often you play a team, the more likely that they’re going to get a result at some stage. The tide does turn eventually,’ Wilson added.
‘If we know what they have, we know how to get the better of them. They have changed their system this year though. They were trying to keep scorelines down (last year), but now they’re picking up big scorelines themselves.’
To win the game on Saturday, it’s imperative Newcestown fix their mistakes from the last game against Fermoy where they lost 3-12 to 1-16. They have the joint most goals conceded in the whole SAHC, along with their opposition on Saturday. Six goals conceded in two games does not read well.
‘We have a lot of things to work on. We concede a lot of goals, which is not a nice thing. Against Fermoy, we failed to keep the scoreboard ticking over and we went a long time without getting scores,’ Wilson said.
‘If you’re ahead, you need to keep pulling away. If you’re behind, you need to keep within shouting distance. Unfortunately, we went a long period without scoring. We did pay for that.
Having the break of one weekend, injuries aside, it will make a big difference this time round,’ concluded Wilson.