"It will never be held against you" - surviving the once-in-a-career shoot-out 3 months ago

"It will never be held against you" - surviving the once-in-a-career shoot-out

Some say that it's a 'cruel' way to end it.

But a game has to end some way and you can try telling Mark Collins or any of his Castlehaven teammates that a penalty shoot-out isn't a fair way to decide it.

After more than 90 minutes of pulsating football in Páirc Uí Rinn last Sunday night, it took spot kicks to separate Castlehaven and St Finbarr's and eventually Mark Collins' cool head was the difference between them.

Not once but twice, Haven's captain stepped up in the shoot-out with his sudden death kick bringing James McCarthy's side back to a first county final since 2015.

"It was an amazing feeling," says Collins of their shoot-out win on Thursday's GAA Hour Show.

"It was an incredible buzz just running back to the lads. We won a couple of county championships back in 2012 and 2013 with Castlehaven and it was just like that. It's a once-in-a-career kind of thing with the shoot-out so it was so special..."

The margins are fine in sport and the hurt will be galling for the 'Barrs but there has to be a loser in every game. Collins explained how the Castlehaven lads kept their cool under the unfamiliar pressure and how he decided to change sides for his second penalty of the night.


"They brought the five penalty takers into the middle away from the teammates and the selectors that's the rule to set it up that way and we just talked to each other and just said let's have a go, it will never be held against you. We said we had nothing to lose..."

"When the Barrs guy missed their first sudden death penalty, I asked the guys will I change and they just said make up your mind and pick a spot. I just decided I'll change and luckily the 'Barrs keeper went the other way.

Unfortunately, the GAA's decision to cancel all club action brought them from elation to limbo within 24 hours and Collins admits t's a desperate position for his non-county-playing clubmates over the next few weeks.

"We were back to reality on Monday night when the announcement came and put the club games to a stop..."

"It's just a mad situation, and it's been like that all this year 2020. It's such a dampener really and the hardest thing is nobody really knows when it's going to be, I was even talking to James McCarthy our manager and he didn't know. So trying to plan for the next couple of weeks, it's impossible. It could be December or January. Nobody knows.

"Thinking about it the last couple of days, we're kind of the lucky guys (3 Castlehaven players are on the Cork football panel while two play hurling) having another big match, a Munster semi against Kerry to look forward to. I feel very sad for the lads in the club. Having those five away from training is very hard on the club players. A county final is a special occasion in your life and to be preparing for that without a third of your team just isn't right."

You can listen to the Collins interview and much more from Thursday's GAA Hour Show here.