Collins believes race for recovery crucial in replay

Castlehaven football selector Christy Collins reckons whichever team recovers better from last weekend’s “bruising” contest will take the replay spoils tomorrow.

Collins feels a week is too short a turnaround such was the ferocity and high-octane nature of the first county final instalment.

Indeed, such was the high count of sore bodies below in Castlehaven on Tuesday evening that nothing more than a light session was conducted.

Both teams can learn plenty from the 0-10 to 0-10 stalemate, but of greater weight to tomorrow’s outcome, according to Collins, is which side can more effectively patch up their players heading back out to war.

“I think it will be a case of who can recover best for the next day, which team has got the bodies right and is fresher,” believes Collins.

“I don’t know how Nemo are faring, but our lads would certainly have loved another week. There is no point complaining, though. We are both in the same boat. The County Board have to try get in the fixtures as best they can, they must meet the county championship deadline and have a Cork representative for the Munster club championship which is coming up shortly. They must be ready for that.

“We met on Tuesday and there were plenty of dead legs, plenty of lads were still stiff and sore. Sunday was a tough and physical encounter. Even the fittest of our players were complaining on Tuesday night.

“We couldn’t do a bit. It was a very light session. A good, hard game like that takes a lot out of a club player, more so than an inter-county footballer who would be used to such high-intensity games. To have to go back out seven days later is tough. I have no doubt the inter-county fellas on both sides will be okay come Sunday, but it’s a tall order for the club player.”

He added: “We encouraged all the lads to get into a pool at some stage this week because it’s near impossible for us to organise a group session for something like that when most of the players are based in the city and beyond

“The panel sat down together to watch a video of last Sunday’s game and the most glaring evidence presented was their wide count: 13 in total, nine arriving in the first period.

“We missed an awful lot. You can’t afford to have that many wides in any game, never mind a county final. That is not on. Nine wides in a half is not good enough either,” admitted Collins.

Was it nerves or what was the consensus among the players when the game was discussed?

“They weren’t expecting the system that Nemo set up with. We didn’t think they would have a sweeper in front of our full-forward line. They caught us on the hop with that and we hadn’t seen it coming.

“It took us a while to come to terms with Colin O’Brien and the role he was playing. I am not saying anything against Nemo, they opted to set up that way and it was up to us to counteract it. It worked for them.” There was no mention of Mark Collins’ late chance – was it or wasn’t it between the posts – and neither was there a sense of opportunity lost among the group.

“I thought in the last few minutes that we were under fierce pressure. I thought they had the better chances. I felt we just couldn’t get the ball into our full-forward line.

“We were turned over four times in that last ten or 12 minutes. We couldn’t get the ball inside. Now Mark Collins did have a chance, but definitely they had chances also. The draw was a fair result.” And while this present crop have no experience of county final replays, Collins is well accustomed to second cherry bites.

Selector in 1994 when Castlehaven and O’Donovan Rossa could not be separated after 60 minutes, he was coach three years later when they and Beara required a second day at it.

“We had two weeks to prepare for the 1994 replay and we needed the two weeks because we had a lot of injuries after the drawn game because it was so physical.

“We just got them right in time. 1997 was a different story, unfortunately. We are one-all in the replays and hoping to make it two-one. Sunday is all to play for.”


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