Tuesday 12 December 2017

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Cork Independent

Game On

Another action packed weekend

Wednesday, 27th September, 2017 5:49pm

Senior hurling

The drawn quarter-final replays take centre stage in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night.

Erin’s Own and Imokilly get proceedings underway at 5.30pm, and if it’s as dramatic the last day, few will complain.

The Caherlag side showed commendable spirit to take the lead with time almost up, and when Eoghan Murphy stood over two frees, you would have been certain that one of the most reliable free takers in club hurling would nail them. That he didn’t might have just thrown Imokilly a lifeline, as the drawn match will have brought them on.

That said, Erin’s Own are a resilient group and with the Flynns, Murphys and Maurice O’Carroll in good form they could repeat their win of last season.

In the second game, UCC with a strong side on duty, and a fair sprinkling of Cork players among them including Darragh Fitzgibbon, Mark Coleman and the excellent Colm Spillane, looked to have done enough to win, leading by five points as the 60 minute mark arrived.

However a commendable fight-back by Sars, sparked by Jack O’Connor’s great goal, earned them a draw that will give them a boost for the next day. UCC will once again be unsure of the availability of some of their players but they will have another strong side on duty, but the balance may just have tilted in Sars' favour.

Senior football

Nemo Rangers sent out a clear signal with their performance in defeating a UCC side that played some very attractive football. A concern for Larry Kavanagh though is the concession of 2-16.

Duhallow showed great spirit to end Valley Rover’s exciting campaign in the cruelest fashion with an injury time goal and they will relish the challenge.

A concern though is that some of their panel will be in club action on Saturday and that will not help with their preparation, but in Kevin Crowley, Michael Vaughan, Donnacha O’Connor and Gerry O’Connor they have quality players.

Nemo, when they get to the business end of the season, are very hard to beat and with Luke Connolly, Colin O’Brien, Paddy Gumley, Paul Kerrigan and Stephen Cronin in excellent form they look well equipped to make it to another final.

The Carbery Rangers vs St Finbarr’s encounter has the makings of a cracker between two teams with the capacity to play good, open, attractive football, helped by class players on both sides.

Ian Maguire, Michael Shields, Cillian Myers Murray, Robert O’Mahoney and Dylan Quinn are key men for the ‘Barrs, while for the holders, with John O’Rourke, John Hayes, James Fitzpatrick, Seamus Hayes and Tipperary star Robbie Kiely, have retained the desire and commitment that brought them that historic first title last season.

This is a very hard game to call but I have this feeling that one of the most enduring rivalries in Cork football will get the opportunity to play the first county final in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh, which means a vote to the ‘Barrs.

As with last weekend, all four senior quarter-finals will be broadcast live on C103.

All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Final Replay

Three weeks on from the dramatic drawn encounter in Croke Park, Cork and Meath renew rivalry in the replay, this time in the Gaelic Grounds with a 1.30pm start.

It will help that it is a stand-alone fixture and the Cork management team will have their sole focus on this clash and with a clear run in, they will be better prepared, even if there is a slight concern about the fitness of Linda Collins who picked up an injury in the drawn game.

There is very little between these two teams, Cork’s only loss all year has been to Meath who have good players. Lauren Callanan, Niamh Ni Chaoimh, Keeva Mc Carthy, Rachel O’Shea, Finola Neville and Katelyn Hickey all impressed in the drawn game, and with a more consistent performance, I expect Cork to win.

Premier and Intermediate Championships

Plenty of quality games in these grades with the two semi-finals in premier football to be played on Saturday.

Mourneabbey is the venue for the meeting of St Michaels and Newmarket, with the latter having set this championship alight by dismissing some fancied teams enroute to the last four. But they might find the city side a tough nut to crack if their emphatic win over Eire Óg is a guide.

Mallow, already through to the hurling final, are in the hunt for a double as they head to Coachford for a meeting with Bandon who will be looking to bounce back from their hurling loss at the weekend. Bandon may find it hard to refocus and with James Loughrey fit again, it’s advantage to Mallow.

In the intermediate football semi-finals it’s Kanturk, again in a bid to win two titles, who face Kildorrery in Charleville and with Aidan Walsh, John and Lorcan McLoughlin in good form a second final appearance beckons for the Duhallow side.

Cill Na Martra and Mitchelstown meet in Banteer where the inclusion of Noel O’Leary in the Muskerry side, who are going well in a number of competitions, might just get them over the line.

Kieran Kingston

Kieran’s decision to step down as Cork manager came as a surprise to many within the county but he departs content in the knowledge, that in his two years, he has overseen a major transformation in the county's fortunes and deserves our sincere thanks for his excellent work. That applies also to Pat Hartnett who has also stepped down as a selector.

On a personal level, my thanks to both men for their help, co-operation and courtesy in the last two years, and best wishes to both.

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