Castlemartyr Notes

05 October, 2009

CASTLEMARTYR ENTER UNCHARTED TERRITORY

Five weeks have passed since that unforgettable evening in Rostellan, when Castlemartyr annexed their first East Cork title since 1964 in glorious style, but all that will have to be put to one side now, as the Reds bid to go one step further when they face the might of Nemo Rangers in the quarter final of the Cork County JHC next Saturday the 10th of October in Cobh at 4pm. The Reds have not been idle since, beating Russell Rovers and Bride Rovers in close league fixtures and suffering a narrow loss in a practice game in Fermoy recently, so one would hope that the celebrations are well gone out of the system at this stage.

Unfortunately the fantastic injury free run has come to an abrupt end. All summer long the Reds went game after game without any injury mishap, but fate is now playing a cruel hand with no fewer than 4 serious injury concerns to worry about. Definitely out is main marksman and East Cork Final Man of the Match Jimmy Smiddy. He was unfortunate to break his hand during a training session and will be out of action for the foreseeable future. His loss will be incalculable, but there is no use in moaning about it. All that can be done is to carry on regardless and everyone try that little bit harder.

Another huge concern is centre forward Sean Hennessy. The bustling number 11 broke his hand 3 weeks ago against Bride Rovers and has his hand in plaster since. Although his injury does not seem to be as serious as Jimmy’s, he is in a race against time to be fit for the clash. Sean who has been in the form of his life over the last two championship games would be an enormous loss and would shear the half forward line of a second match winner, which could be one fears, a blow too many.

Other injury doubts are Barry Lawton (Achilles tendon) and Brian O Tuama (hamstring), but is hoped that if treatment goes to plan they should be fit for the 10th .

So with the medical report out of the way what chance do Castlemartyr have next Saturday? In truth this is another David versus Goliath clash. With Nemos footballers out of the championship they are free to concentrate on the hurling ,and as this is their first string selection they will be firing on all cylinders. They were very impressive in the City Championship when they hammered Bishopstown in the semi final and edged out a confident Glen Rovers outfit in a thrilling final by 3-12 to 2-14. Also their best player Cork star Martin Cronin missed those games through suspension but will be back for Saturdays match. So going on those bald facts it would be hard to overlook Nemos credentials. They have made no secret of the fact that they feel the junior grade is somewhat beneath them and aspire “to go back where they belong at intermediate level”. This is confident talk indeed and deserves to be met with as much fire and fury as a small country junior club can muster.

If the Reds were approaching this game with their full complement of players then we would surely be giving ourselves a 50:50 chance. But the way it stands, being realistic the odds must be stacked against us. But encouragement must be gained from the East Cork Final when the Reds defied all the tipsters and upset a much fancied Sars team. That day especially in the second half everyone in a Red shirt played with a total commitment to their team that was a joy to watch, and in the end the effort was rewarded. But as supreme as that effort was, another few extra percent is going to have to be found, without the injured players, in order to compensate.

The defence will start the same as the Sars game, as will the midfield pairing of Brian Lawton and Peter Horgan. It’s in the half forward line where all the changes will have to be made owing to the injuries, which is a pity as they were gelling so well as a unit .Eddie Clifford will surely come in to the reckoning here as his physical strength may be advantageous, but it will be also something of a gamble as most of his hurling would have been done facing the ball.

If Seanie doesn’t make it ,then it will upset the whole forward line as players will have to be brought out from the full forward line to fill gaps. As I said before it’s a pity we don’t have the full deck, as we represent our division, but being realistic no team is ever going to get a clear run throughout a championship, so now we get a chance to see our strength in depth.

Best of luck lads. You have all made us very proud so far. But having tasted that unfamiliar sensation of pure victory it leaves one thirsty for more. Any chance...............?

Pic. Evan O Keeffe, who will have to be in top form if Castlemartyr are to advance in the Cork County Junior Championship next Saturday