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Harry Redknapp: Going into this game I'm not going to lie, I'm worried

11 July 2018; Harry Redknapp, pictured at the launch of AIB’s new series, The Toughest Rivalry. The series, airing exclusively across AIB’s social channels, stars both Redknapp and former Italian footballer and Premier League manager Gianluca Vialli. AIB’s Toughest Rivalry series will chronicle both Redknapp and Vialli’s journeys as the two powerhouses will take charge of two rival GAA clubs. Vialli with Erin’s Isle in Dublin, and Redknapp with Castlehaven in West Cork. The two teams faced off in an infamous 1998 AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Semi-Final, where Castlehaven were defeated by a last-minute questionable goal. The controversial ending left both teams with unfinished business. The first episode of The Toughest Rivalry will air on Friday, July 13th and every Friday, exclusively on AIB’s social channels. For exclusive content and behind the scenes action from The Toughest Rivalry follow us @AIB_GAA on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and AIB.ie/GAA. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

30 Aug 2018

Posted in:  #Rivals

"Going into this game I'm not going to lie, I'm worried because there's so much resting on this in Castlehaven and you don't want to let them down. I'm thinking if we get beat, I'm gonna have to get out of town quick and will need to have a car warmed up just in case.

But I've got a really well coached team with Liam (Collins) and Niall (Cahalane) who know the game so well and have been such a huge help to me. It's hard to believe that I only saw my first game just two months ago. Now all I think is what an incredible game it is, I'm a big fan and I really am going to be watching Gaelic in future.

I've learned loads about the game and the big thing is you've got to be patient. Too often the boys went for that big shot over the bar from bad angles and long distances instead of keeping possession, working a good opening and being sure when they shoot.

Shooting from bad angles is like, in soccer, shooting from 35 yards every time you attack. You'd go crazy if you saw that and there is a bit of that in Gaelic as well. The two games really are all about possession, but I love the way they volley that ball.

Castlehaven's captain Mark Collins, our number eight, he was like a throwback for me -  what a motivator!

He was such a leader in the dressing room. He's got them all in a huddle and told them exactly what he expected from them and he wasn't afraid to give them a rucking either. He's like, well imagine Tony Adams in his heyday at Arsenal! A real leader.

While I was here I got to see a little bit of Dublin in their semi-final against Galway and they look like a fantastic team. But I also got to watch a Castlehaven U10 game and the standard in that was absolutely amazing. I couldn't believe how skillful the kids were.

That's because it's a good game, you can understand why people love to play it from a young age. The skill factor is incredible. This has been such a different experience for me and the biggest thing I'll take away is that there's still so many nice people in the world. It's restored my faith in people, honestly.

The people in Castlehaven enjoy what they have. They've got a lovely attitude towards life, always friendly, no aggression anywhere I went, just lovely people having a great day out at the club with their families and their kids and the kids were so well behaved.

I thought it was amazing that no one had any 'side' to them, just down-to-earth people. It was genuinely refreshing to know there's so many nice people about. Soccer has changed an awful lot now, it's obviously about so much more money these days. Castlehaven's players were just honest lads. They took criticism, listened to what they were told, got on with it, carried out instructions and did everything I asked them to do.

They travel and work and train. They are so professional even though they are amateur, I've been amazed by that. It's all been a breath of fresh air for me and I really hope we win. If we do I've made them a promise.

I've had racehorses here in Ireland, with trainers like Gordon Elliot and Eddie Lynam and I bought a really good one from a Mr. Dennison from Belfast, who's a very famous man in transport and breeding. This one's a four-year old, a jumper and is being trained in England by Ben Paulin right now and if we beat Erin's Isle, I'm going to call him 'Castlehaven Harry' after the club.

Actually, I need to speak to the Castlehaven chairman after the game because I'm looking for a 10-year contract now. I'll be 81 in 10 years’ time, but I'll still be OK, right?!"

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