Nemo Rangers midfielder David Niblock says his side must repeat the defensive efforts of last week if they are to beat Castlehaven in Sunday’s Cork SFC final replay in Páirc Uí Rinn (3.30pm).

Nemo Rangers midfielder David Niblock says his side must repeat the defensive efforts of last week if they are to beat Castlehaven in Sunday’s Cork SFC final replay in Páirc Uí Rinn (3.30pm).

Employing a sweeper system, Nemo limited Cork star Brian Hurley to just three points, all from frees, in a 0-10 each draw. Niblock is wary of a different approach from the Haven this time around, however, and knows that the same defensive discipline must be employed.

“I’m sure it wasn’t their first time to play against a sweeper,” he said.

“We all know the calibre of player Brian Hurley is. Are we used to a sweeper system? Not really. Have we done before? Maybe the odd time.

“The thing is, though, there are five other forwards who can all contribute and Castlehaven will be used to having come up against that system. What we all have to do is work hard and stay tight on our men.

“Stephen Hurley and Brian Hurley, I can’t see them being as quiet the next day, so we’ve a lot of work to do between now and then.

“I thought the backs were outstanding the last day and it’s up to us to help then. We’ll have to be at the same level again the next day to quell the onslaught from them.”

With little between the teams at any stage last week — the biggest lead was when Nemo were 0-4 to 0-1 in front early on — and Niblock expects something similar.

“I said it before the draw that there’d only be a kick of a ball in it,” he said.

“You go back two years ago, we drew the first round, they beat us in the replay — fair enough, they were better on the day — but then in the final they only beat us by two.

“There wasn’t a whole lot between the teams then and, by and large, they’re the same now. We have a few injuries and fellas have emigrated — Luke Connolly might be out the next day now and hopefully that won’t be a deciding factor. Last week, Castlehaven will probably feel that they should have won with Mark Collins’s late shot waved wide, but they’ll have room for improvement too.”

Midfield supremacy was also traded at various times, with both sides having distinct periods where they were on top.

“Number one, it’s going to be about who makes the least amount of errors, and number two, who can capitalise on their period of dominance at midfield,” Niblock said.

“It will ebb and flow. Shane Martin was waiting to come on at one stage last week and he was saying after that it was about four or five minutes the ball was going up and down the pitch and getting turned over. It was strewn with errors.

“Finals will do that, sometimes semi-finals can be more enjoyable spectacles but you don’t really care about the errors when you’re out there once you get over the line, however slim the margin is.

“Castlehaven have experience of finals in recent times, some of our lads would only have played in U21 finals before last Sunday. They’ve been the benchmark in this decade, and it’s for us to emulate where they’re at, to give a winning ethos to the younger lads coming through.”

Meanwhile, Watergrasshill play Kilworth at Páirc Uí Rinn tonight in the U21BHC final, a game originally moved from tonight to Monday and then back again after the switch drew the ire of the competing clubs.

Shane O’Regan’s free-taking will be very important for Watergrasshill, while Kevin O’Neill, Ben Halbert and Colm Fenton will also be key. Brian Sheehan, Ciarán Gowen and Mikey Wade will have a say if Kilworth are to claim spoils.

Verdict: Watergrasshill


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