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Cork Independent

Game On

Game On

Wednesday, 31st January, 2018 5:39pm

It's another hectic weekend with Knocknagree and Kanturk chasing All-Ireland titles, while both Cork teams face important games in the Allianz National Leagues.
Cork vs Wexford

Both sides recorded excellent wins last weekend and they will be keen to maintain that momentum. It’s well known how hard Wexford are to beat at home and probably even more so now since Davy FitzGerald assumed control.

Cork, though, will not fear travelling there and the win over Kilkenny will have given the team and management a timely boost.

A number of injury worries may have cleared up in time for this game which might see Damien Cahalane and Mark Coleman return, while Patrick Horgan should also be included now that his one match ban has been completed.

Lee Chin, David Dunne, Mark Fanning and Aidan Nolan are all in good form for Wexford, and while their style of play may not be easy on the eye, it’s a results business and they are getting them right now.

It will be a severe test for this Cork team but one they are well capable of passing.

Cork vs Down

A real tough test for Cork following last week’s loss to Tipperary against a Down side that are hard to beat in Newry.

Cork looked good in parts of their game against Tipperary but the concession of 2-4 in a ten minute spell just in the second half, coupled with their failure to convert two goal chances either side of half-time, did not help.

Of course, the absence of some very experienced players owing to club commitments, and injuries that will keep James Loughrey and Sean Powter out of this game, will mean the younger contingent will be tasked with getting a result on the road, never easy in a competitive division.

Ian Maguire, Mark Collins, Colm O’Neill, Jamie O’Sullivan and Tomas Clancy are the experienced players that should be on duty on Sunday and they will need to provide leadership if another loss is to be avoided.

Knocknagree vs Multyfarnham

Ten years after Canovee were crowned champions, Knocknagree bid to emulate that feat against the Westmeath champions, who caused a surprise with a deserved win over Lahardane in the semi-final.

Knockangree have been very impressive in their games to date and the manner in which they saw off the robust challenge of Naomh Colmcille in their semi-final would suggest that they have grown in strength since winning the Munster Final.

A concern, though, is the injuries picked up in that game by Danny Cooper and Eoghan McSweeney, and while both are expected to play, it’s a risk, but probably one worth taking given the magnitude of the occasion.

Multyfarnham came from behind to win their semi-final and have quality players in Cormac Reilly, Adrian Leonard, Daniel Loughrey, Emmet Feerick and Ciaran Madden, and they will relish the tag as underdogs.

Knocknagree play a very effective brand of football, quick and accurate passing, a high work rate all over the field, supplemented by a number of forwards with an eye for goal.

Patrick Doyle, Keelan Buckley, Donagh Moynihan, Danny Cooper, Matthew Dilworth, Anthony and Finbarr O’Connor, John Fintan Daly Jnr and Eoghan McSweeney have anchored Knocknagree’s challenge to date. The wide open spaces of Croke Park will suit their style of play, and they look well equipped to land that much coveted title.

Kanturk vs St Patrick’s Ballyragget

Nothing excites more than a Cork vs Kilkenny final and this has the makings of a cracker between two sides evenly matched.

For St Pat’s, it’s a return to HQ five years after they defeated another Cork side, Charleville, in the All-Ireland Junior Final and several of the panel are still involved which will help.

On the other side, Kanturk have a quartet of players who have vast experience in playing in Croke Park. In fact Aidan Walsh has won an All-Ireland Football medal there, while Anthony Nash and the McLoughlins have played there on big days and will acquaint their colleagues on what’s required.

Kevin Kelly is a member of the Kilkenny senior panel and missed their semi-final win over Tooreen, and they are hoping that he will recover in time to take his place; he would be a huge loss if ruled out.

However Eoin Bergin, Joseph Brennan, Stephen Staunton, Saoirse Kenny, Michael Brennan, Brian Phelan and Paddy Brennan have enjoyed good campaigns, and like all teams from the Marble County, they see it as their right to be contesting All-Ireland Finals.

Apart from their intercounty contingent, there is a nice balance to the Kanturk side; Darren Browne, Alan O’Keeffe, Liam O’Keeffe (if fit), Lorcan O’Neill, Ian Walsh, John Browne and James Fitzpatrick have played key roles in all their games to date.

They are 60 minutes away from the perfect season, it’s hard to see them being denied now, and in the process make it a spectacular weekend in Croke Park for the Duhallow Division.

Best of luck to both teams, the two matches will be broadcast live on C103.

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