Allianz National Hurling League
Cork vs Dublin
Contrasting fortunes for these teams last weekend and on the back of the excellent win over Clare, Cork will approach this encounter in a confident mood.
Giving debuts to five players was a bold move, with two more introduced during the game, but it paid off handsomely as all made important contributions. However players and management know only too well that stiffer tests await.
A number of players were absent through injury and there is a possibility that Conor Lehane and Stephen McDonnell could return; but Mark Ellis is now a doubt with a shoulder injury.
The Cork management, injuries aside, will in all probability stick with more or less the same team for this clash, conscious also that a lot of the players will have played with UCC and CIT in midweek matches.
Anthony Nash, Mark Coleman, Bill Cooper, Alan Cadogan, Patrick Horgan, Seamus Harnedy and Darragh Fiztgibbon should all feature and it’s hard to see anything other than a Cork win.
AIB All-Ireland Junior Hurling Final
Mayfield vs Mooncoin
From a sunny evening in Ballinlough to a February afternoon in Croke Park, the remarkable journey that Mayfield have embarked on will end on Saturday.
Hopefully they can join Dripsey, Fr O’Neills and Meelin as All-Ireland Junior champions.
As ever, it’s a Kilkenny side providing the opposition. Mooncoin won their first junior title in Kilkenny since 1961 with a win over John Lockes and have quality players in Seamus Kearns, Conor Brophy, Cormac Fleming, Kevin Crowley, Eamonn Hennebry, Michael Grace and John Fitzgerald, and like all teams from that famed hurling county, they will relish winning in Croke Park especially when the opposition is from the Rebel County.
Mayfield, though, are a very good side and have displayed tremendous resilience and maturity enroute to this final. Richard O’Keeffe is a top class goalkeeper and Dan Lucey is a quality defender, as are Shane O’Donovan and Brian O’Leary.
Kevin Punch and Colm O’Sullivan are a very effective and hard working midfield pairing, while the attack is centred around Nicky Kelly. It’s not a one-man attack though as he gets great support from David O’Neill and the Duggan brothers, Shane and Patrick, making it a very nice and balanced team who may also be able to call on Gavin Looney who has been away on army duty in recent months.
Finals tend to take on a life of their own, but the manner in which Mayfield have approached this one suggests that the title could be Leeside bound. Let’s hope it is and Mayfield carry all our good wishes
The big game of the weekend is the Dr Harty Cup Final in Limerick on Saturday at 2pm, as St Colman’s Fermoy bid to end a long wait for the title to come to Cork when they face a highly-rated Our Lady’s Templemore side. It’s a tall order, but Colman’s are a determined outfit and could spring a surprise.
In football, for the third time, Coláiste Chríost Rí and Tralee CBS meet in the Corn Uí Mhuirí in Ballyvourney on Saturday at 1pm.
In truth, there should be no replay as the Capwell side were the victims of some appalling refereeing decisions last Saturday. In all the years I have been covering and attending games, I don’t think I have ever seen a team being wronged as they were.
That said, these are two quality sides and it’s just a pity that all the talk was about the referee, but if the football is as good as the drawn games, few will complain.
UCC, under the genial Billy Morgan and with Tomas O’Se joining him on the sideline, head west for the Sigerson Cup Semi-Final on Friday at 2pm with St Mary’s Belfast as their opponents who, surprisingly, knocked out DCU in the last round.
Ian Maguire, Stephen Cronin, Brian O’Driscoll, Kevin Crowley and the Spillanes anchor the College challenge, which is sure to be a committed one, but of the four teams remaining they are outsiders, an ideal situation for them to upset the odds.
Camogie and Ladies Football
Cork open their Division 1 camogie campaign on Saturday when Dublin are visitors, with no venue yet.
I find it strange that the camogie authorities in Croke Park refuse to sanction Castle Road as a venue for senior intercounty games because they deem the dressing rooms unfit.
While at the moment that is true, Cork are one of only two camogie boards with their own ground and the pitch is in remarkable condition, and to deny them use of it borders on ridiculous.
Wherever it’s played, Cork will be expected to make a winning start; while, on Sunday, the Division 2 team will also have home advantage against Galway and in the All-Ireland Minor Championship it’s Cork vs Dublin.
Having lost to Armagh last time out, the Ladies Footballers will hope to get back to winning ways on Sunday when they play the team they beat in last year’s All-Ireland Final, Dublin, in the third round of the Ladies Football League in Mallow at 2pm.
Super Saturday on C103
A really busy day for our GAA team with three live commentaries; it gets underway with the Harty Cup Final at 2pm, at 3pm it’s off to Croke Park for Mayfield vs Mooncoin and the mammoth coverage concludes with Cork vs Dublin in Pairc Ui Rinn at 7pm.
Friday 17 February
Independent.ie Sigerson Cup Semi-Final, throw-in 2pm
UCC vs St Mary’s – Connacht GAA Centre
President’s Cup, kick-off 7.45pm
Cork City FC vs Dundalk FC - Turner’s Cross
Saturday 18 February
Corn Ui Mhuirí Semi-Final replay, throw-in 1pm
Coláiste Chríost Rí vs Tralee CBS – Venue Ballyvourney
Harty Cup Final, throw-in 2pm
St Colman’s Fermoy vs Our Lady’s Templemore – Gaelic Grounds
Ulster Bank League Division 1A, kick-off 2.30pm
Cork Constitution vs Terenure College – Lakelands Park
Ulster Bank League Division 1B, kick-off 2.30pm
Dolphin vs Shannon – Irish Independent Park
UCC vs Naas – Mardyke
Ulster Bank League Division 2A, kick-off 2.30pm
Highfield vs Blacrock College – Woodleigh Park
Sunday’s Well vs Queen’s University – Dub Lane
Ulster Bank League Division 2C, kick-off 2.30pm
Kanturk vs Bangor – Upritchard Park
Midleton vs Seapoint – Kilbogget Park
AIB GAA All-Ireland Junior Club Hurling Final, throw-in 3pm
Mayfield vs Mooncoin (Kilkenny) – Croke Park
Guinness PRO12, kick-off 5.15pm
Munster vs Ospreys – Liberty Stadium
Allianz Hurling League, throw-in 7pm
Cork vs Dublin – Páirc Uí Rinn
Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League, throw-in TBC
Cork vs Dublin - Venue TBC
Sunday 19 February
Women’s SuperLeague, tip-off 1pm
Ambassador UCC Glanmire vs Singleton SuperValu Brunell – Mardyke Arena
Lidl National Ladies Football League, throw-in 2pm
Cork vs Dublin - Mallow
Men’s SuperLeague, tip-off 3pm
UCC Demons vs Radisson Blu UL Eagles – Mardyke Arena
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