Tuesday 25 September 2018

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Cork Independent

Game On

Cork and Dublin meet once again

Wednesday, 12th September, 2018 4:46pm

All-Ireland Final

 

It's a rare occurrence for a Cork Ladies Football team. They enter Sunday’s final not as champions, and not even as favourites, as Dublin are fancied to retain their title.

That is unfair on this Cork team, as it is the side that dominated the championship for so long.

Manager Ephie Fitzgerald did win the All-Ireland in his first season before losing to Mayo in last year’s semi-final. Dublin eventually beat Mayo in the final, and have grown in confidence on the back of that, so it’s easy to see why they are favourites.

Cork though, have a nice mix of youth and experience and the players from the successful minor teams of recent years have been neatly integrated into the team. Eimear Scally and Emma Spillane are just two such players while the experience is provided by the O’Sullivan sisters, Martina O’Brien, Orla Farmer, Melissa Duggan and ace sorer Orla Finn.

It’s also a special occasion for dual players Libby Coppinger and Hannah Looney who are bidding for a second medal in the space of seven days.

Like Cork, the champions were easy winners in their semi-final bagging four goals against Galway.

It is also interesting that having lost three finals in a row to Cork, they now get the opportunity to gain a measure of revenge, and in Nicola Owens, Lauren Magee, Carla Rowe, Sinead Aherne (2-4 in the semi-final), Lyndsey Davey and Amy Connolly, they have quality players.

Dublin have been the form team all year, but Cork have also impressed in their games to date and are well capable of upsetting the form, but only if they keep a tight rein on the champion's attack.

Senior Hurling Quarter-Finals

 

Between them they have amassed a total of 57 titles, but both have been a long time without climbing the winner’s rostrum, and for one that wait will be extended by another year after Saturday.

The ‘Barrs were impressive and deserving winners over Douglas and if they play with the same spirit and determination, they will be very hard to beat.

Robert O’Mahoney, Billy Hennessey, Damien and Conor Cahalane and Glenn O’Connor were outstanding last time out and they will be expected to deliver again.

Blackrock, runners-up last year, looked good in seeing of the challenge of Ballymartle on Sunday and the Cashmans, along with Michael O’Halloran, impressed.

Games between these keenest of rivals have always been hard to call, but a slight fancy for the ‘Barrs.

Midleton vs Newtownshandrum

Conor Lehane led the way in Midleton’s win over Glen Rovers, and if he repeats that form, the Newtown backs will be in for a tough hour.

Paul Haughney also had a big game, while Sean O’Leary Hayes hit the match winner with the assurance of a very seasoned player, while Luke O’Farrell was busy and effective.

Newtown bagged vital goals in their good win over Bride Rovers and will once again look to Tim O’Mahoney and Jamie Coughlan to extend their season. The odds though, favour Midleton making it to the last four.

Imokilly vs Newcestown

The champions eased past Bishopstown in the last round and will be hot favourites to win this clash as well, although Newcestown are gritty opponents, buoyed by the manner in which they saw off neighbours Bandon, with Luke Meade in top form once again.

This, however, is a different level and Imokilly hold all the aces, and if they have a fully fit squad to chose from including Colm Spillane, Seamus Harnedy and Bill Cooper, they should and probably will win.

UCC vs Sarsfields

This is a serious looking UCC outfit who beat Erin’s Own without David Lowney, Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Sean O’Donoghue, and if this quartet are available, it certainly makes this a really tough test for the Riverstown lads.

Sars' themselves were easy winners over Carrigtwohill, who played poorly on the night, and they will know a huge improvement will be required to win this one. That is not to say it will be easy for the students as Sars' will be well motivated for this one, with Daniel Kearney, Jack O’Connor, Liam Healy, Conor O’Sullivan and William Kearney key players for them. UCC will be fancied but do not rule out a win for Sars'.

Premier and Intermediate Championships

Some big games in these competitive championships in both grades, getting underway on Friday night.

Courcey Rovers and Castlelyons meet in Páirc Uí Rinn and the East Cork side will be well fancied to win; there’s a North Cork derby in Castletownroche on Saturday and Mallow should edge neighbours Kilworth.

Riverstick on Sunday hosts another local derby with Carrigdhoun rivals Ballinhassig and Valley Rovers colliding and this has the makings of a cracker with the latter slightly fancied to advance.

There is one game in the intermediate grade. If Kilbrittain find the net as frequently as they did against Meelin, Ballincollig will have a tough hour.

In football, two quarter-finals in the premier grade with Naomh Abán, fresh from a win over Nemo, facing another city side in St Vincent’s and the Gaelthacht side are favourites.

The meeting of Bantry Blues and Fermoy pits Cork colleagues Ruairí Deane and Tomás Clancy in oppositon. The West Cork side have improved immeasurably since their first round loss to Fermoy, and if they can maintain that improvement, they could reverse that result.

Mayfield and Kildorrery replay their intermediate clash on Saturday. The drawn encounter was a case of missed penalties, while the city side had a good win in hurling last week and might have the edge here.

The replay of the senior football encounter between Castlehaven and CIT goes ahead on Sunday evening in Cloughduv, and if it’s as good as the drawn encounter, few will complain. This time the ‘Haven might get over the line.

Camogie

For several players involved in the winning of the historic double in Croke Park, it’s back into action this weekend when the SE Systems Senior Championship resumes.

First up on Saturday it's Glen Rovers vs Ballygarvan at 5.30pm. It’s a repeat of last year when the Glen won on their way to the final. Cork players Leanne O’Sullivan, Lauren Callanan, along with Emma Murphy and Lydia Cunningham are in good form and the Blackpool side should win.

There's a real cracker in prospect on Sunday at 1pm when champions Inniscarra meet Sarsfields, and with Rena Buckley and Niamh McCarthy leading, the holders will be expected to win. The final game of the weekend is the meeting of Muskerry and Courcey Rovers, with the latter favourites to advance. All these matches will take place in Castle Road.

Heartiest congratulations to all who helped make last Sunday a special day - players, management and also the board officers who work behind the scenes. The three main All-Ireland titles all now reside on Leeside - no mean achievement.

Special thanks to the team managements for their help and co-operation; now Paudie, it’s on to the three-in-a-row!

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