Tuesday 12 December 2017

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Cork Independent

Game On

Munster title on the line

Wednesday, 29th November, 2017 5:22pm

Can Knocknagree do what no Cork team has done in 21 attempts against Kerry opposition at both junior and intermediate level, and in the process, make it two out of three for Cork in AIB Munster Club Football titles?

There is no doubt a tough test awaits the John Fintan Daly trained side who, to be fair, have impressed in their wins to date, even allowing for the quality of the opposition. By contrast, Dromid-Pearses, who are managed by former intercounty star Declan O’Sullivan, have had two very tough games but showed remarkable resilience in the semi-final coming from 12 points down to defeat Galtee Gaels after extra-time.

Dylan O’Donoghue, Graham O’Sullivan, who scored 1-5 from the centre-back position in that win, excellent goalkeeper Brian O’Leary, Cian O’Se and Chris Farley will anchor their challenge, but they will miss the experience of Niall O’Shea who picked up a red card in the semi-final.

There is a nice balance to the Cork champions and they play a lovely brand of football with a lot of emphasis on quick ball and good quality foot passing.

Patrick Doyle is a solid and dependable goalkeeper, Gary O’Connor and Jerry Carroll marshall the defence, with Danny Cooper and Patrick Collins a formidable midfield.

The attack has racked up some big margins, but the leeway they enjoyed in the previous outings will hardly be there on Sunday, which means John Fintan Daly Jnr, Matthew Dilworth, Fintan O’Connor and Eoghan McSweeney will need to be at their best to breach the Dromid rearguard.

John Fintan Daly has targeted this championship from a long way out, and while they face an acid test on Sunday, they are well capable of winning this game and in the process break Kerry’s stranglehold on this grade.

A trip to London for this remarkable team that could be a bit of banana skin if they are not focused from the off, and do not underestimate the opposition.

Kanturk would do well to remember that in 2014, Kilburn defeated Mullinavat from Kilkenny at the same stage of the championship, so forewarned is forearmed.

Kilburn, an amalgamation of Desmonds and Glen Rovers, were formed in 1997 and caused a big surprise by winning the London Final, denying Robert Emmetts a three in a row.

Sean Conlon, Fergal Collins, Adam Murphy, the Campions and Kieran O’Regan are their main men.

The Cork and Munster champions are approaching this clash conscious that the prospect of a Croke Park appearance gets ever nearer and they have prepared well.

As ever, the big players for Kanturk will be Anthony Nash, the McLoughlins and the Walshs, along with the classy Darren Browne; with that quality it’s hard to see them slipping up.

Two very attractive games in prospect despite the lateness of the year, Páirc Uí Rinn will host both games.

On Saturday at 2.30pm, it’s Sarsfields vs Valley Rovers with Chris O’Leary the key man for the Innishannon lads. However, there would appear to be a better balance to Sars' and they get the nod to advance.

On Sunday at 12pm, it’s the turn of Shandrum and Killeagh/Ita’s, and again a close encounter on the cards. Tim O’Mahony has been the main scorer for Shandrum, and if he’s contained they could struggle, and that could pave the way for the East Cork combination to win.

A unique and exciting weekend with three Cork clubs contesting All-Ireland Finals and for two, Kinsale and Mourneabbey, an opportunity to atone for defeat at the same stage previously.

First into action though are Aghada in the junior decider, for the very first time, when they play Corduff in Crettyard on Saturday at 2pm.

Parnell Park is the venue for the intermediate and senior finals on Sunday.

Kinsale, with Orla Finn an important players for last year’s runners-up, face Dunboyne at 1.45pm and the hurt of that defeat might get them over the line.

Mourneabbey have suffered the heartbreak of defeat for the last two years, and not for the first time, the redoubtable Cora Staunton and Cornacon from Mayo stand in their way.

The O’Sullivan sisters anchor the challenge for the Cork champions and hopefully they will finally land the holy grail in a match that has a 3.45pm start.

Both finals will be live on C103 as will the Munster Junior Football Final between Knocknagree and Dromid-Pearses in Mallow.

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