Cahalane calls for straight knockout in Cork

Castlehaven selector Niall Cahalane would like to see the Cork SFC revert to a straight knockout format rather than the current system where teams can lose two games and still be involved.

The Haven begin their quest to win consecutive titles for the first time as they take on Nemo Rangers in Bandon tomorrow evening (7.30pm), but former Cork star Cahalane would prefer the added intensity that a do-or-die element brings.

“The first round is a bit of shadow-boxing,” he said.

“We are playing Nemo — who haven’t gone away by any manner of means — but it’s not the complete end of the world for either of us, because you have a second chance and then, with the last few years, you have a third chance.

“I suppose, from our point of view, when you’re not crowned with panels, I’m not too sure if it’s a huge advantage to have these extra chances.

“The old system was championship football and you got on with it, maybe you were unfortunate to be out in the second week of May but you could just as easily be scampering on to the next round.”

Last year, when they beat Duhallow in the final, was the first time in their history that Castlehaven reached two deciders in-a-row, having lost in 2011 to UCC. For the club to get back to an unprecedented third final would require a huge effort, in Cahalane’s view, especially as the Carbery side are seen by everybody else as the team to beat.

“It’s a nice position but it’s also an awkward one because everybody will want to knock you off your pedestal,” he said.

“To try and get back to a third final is a mountain to climb. In actual fact, we didn’t hit the heights last year at all at all, compared to the previous year, only for the final.

“I genuinely believe that, maybe unknown to ourselves, there was that hunger to try and get back to the final again and put right what went horribly wrong the previous year.

“To win any championship, you need the rub of the green and I suppose that we got that. Last year, we were very lucky to draw against St Finbarr’s the first day, before that we had a dogfight against Newcestown, so you’re happy when the breaks go your way.”


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