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Cork Independent


Minors bid to end lengthy dry spell

Wednesday, 30th August, 2017 5:03pm


All-Ireland Minor Hurling Final

Denis Ring has mixed memories of the last time Cork were crowned All-Ireland minor hurling champions. He tells the story: “There was obviously great delight and the thrill of winning with a very good team, then the captain Tomas O’Leary informed us that he was signing a contract with Munster and heading to a career in rugby.”

So, Tomás embarked on his journey that includes two Heineken Cup wins, Triple Crown and a Grand Slam, and Cork are still waiting for the Irish Press Cup to return to Leeside.

However, Denis is hopeful that the wait will end on Sunday: “We are confident in our own ability, we have trained well, we do have concerns over Evan Sheehan and Brian Turnbull but we would hope they will be fit to play.”

Cork are strong and balanced in all areas, Ger Collins is an excellent goalkeeper, while the Roche twins, Eoin and Brian, along with team captain Sean O’Leary Hayes and Jack Keating anchor a solid defence.

Daire Connery is a gem in midfield and in attack Brian Turnbull, Robert Downey and Sheehan, if fit, have the capacity to unhinge any defence.

Finals take on a life of their own, Cork though have the benefit of the five lads who have tasted final victory in the Under 17 Final at Croke Park and that will help. It’s a team that play a very direct and effective style of hurling and if they produce that for the 60 minutes on Sunday, they look well equipped to bridge the long gap since the last win at that level.


Senior Football

Near neighbours St Finbarrs and Bishopstown head to Páirc Uí Rinn on Friday night for a Round 3 clash to decide CIT’s opponents in the fourth round and it should be an intriguing encounter.

Quality players on both sides - Ken O’Halloran, Jamie O’Sullivan, Conor Dorman and Diarmuid Lester for the ‘Town - while Ian Maguire, Michael Shields and the experienced Robert O’Mahoney for the ‘Barrs, who impressed in easily defeating Newcestown a couple of weeks ago.

That match might just give them the edge, but as with all local derbies, it’s very hard to call; a replay maybe to decide the winner.

Premier Intermediate Football

All four quarter-finals down are for decision on Saturday and all are very attractive games.

Páirc Uí Rinn is the venue for the meeting of Éire Óg and St Michaels, the latter were runners-up two years ago and playing well right now but were well beaten by Bishopstown in a league game last week.

Daniel Goulding was impressive for Éire Óg in their win over Na Piarsaigh and his scoring ability might just get them over the line.

Macroom and Newmarket meet in Dromtarriffe, and it’s a repeat of a second round clash which the Duhallow side won comfortably. Fintan Goold returns for Macroom and his experience could decide a close contest.

Ballinacarriga is the venue for the meeting of West Cork rivals Bandon and one of the favourites Bantry Blues.

Expect a cracker here with Graham Canty and Ruairi Deane key for Bantry, while Mark Sugrue and Michael Cahalane are vital for Bandon, but the odds favour Bantry to edge a close contest.

Mallow and Ballingeary play in Coachford and both sides could be boosted by returning players from injury, Liam Shorten for the Gaethacht side and possibly Cork star James Loughrey for Mallow who had a good win over Valley Rovers in hurling last Saturday. Another semi-final spot beckons for a team playing with confidence.

Intermediate Hurling and Football

It hasn’t been the best of weeks for Douglas and they play another crucial game on Saturday when their intermediate hurlers play Mayfield in Páirc Uí Rinn. This is a big ask against a good Mayfield side and if Nicky Kelly, Shane O’Donovan and Dan Lucey hit form it’s hard to see them losing.

In football, Mitchelstown will be expected to see off the challenge of Millstreet. Kildorrery could get the better of St Finbarr’s who, in recent weeks, have lost a few key players to their senior side, while last year’s Junior champions might find Cill Na Martra too hot to handle in the quarter-final.

Ladies Football Semi-Final

The decision to fix the Cork vs Mayo game for Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan on Saturday afternoon certainly defied logic. Asking Cork to travel practically six hours in comparison with a much shorter trip for Mayo, well let’s just say it’s a strange one.

Cork were impressive in their demolition of Galway, equally Mayo looked good in their win over Donegal, even with Cora Staunton for once not been the leading scorer.

Brid Stack remains a doubt for the champions but Cork can look to quality in Orla Finn, Niamh Cotter, Martina O’Brien and Eimear Scally to see them reach another final.

They have been defying the odds all season, they will do so again on Saturday.

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