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Hurling championships take off

Wednesday, 25th April, 2018 4:56pm

With Erin's Own the first club team through to Round 3 of the County Championship, barring draws, several more will join them in a hectic weekend of hurling coming up.

Senior Hurling

Glen’s league form has been very good, especially Patrick Horgan who bagged 2-14 in a recent win over Sars, while Stephen McDonnell is also playing well.

A number of players though are unavailable; David Cunningham (injured), Donal Cronin (retired), and Conor Dorris is an injury doubt, but Graham Callanan, Cathal Hickey, Adam Lynch, Brian Moylan and Dean Brosnan remain key players for a team keen to make a winning start.

Ballymartle are renowned championship performers and Darren McCarthy, Brian Corry and Jamie Dwyer always rise to the occasion. That said, the odds favour a Glen win, and they should oblige.

Killeagh vs Douglas

A repeat of last year’s first round clash in which Killeagh were surprising but deserving winners.

Noel Furlong is now guiding Douglas' fortunes and Shane Kingston, Stephen Moylan, Stephen Bourke, Cian McCarthy, Eoin and Alan Cadogan would grace most teams in the county.

Killeagh underwent a change of management in recent weeks but have been playing well, three league wins out of five.

However there appears to be a bit more about Douglas this year and they look good enough to win.

Na Piarsaigh vs Bandon

The interesting stat coming into this game is that Bandon have only two league games played. Their football championship match being postponed for a week was a factor, while Na Piarsaigh’s form is only fair with just one win.

The sides met last year, and in extremely difficult conditions, Na Piarsaigh overcame a stern challenge from a side playing senior for the first time in many years.

The Crowley brothers are available and they are big players for the West Cork lads while Michael Cahalane’s concentrating on hurling, only for the time being, and that will help.

Christopher Joyce, Eddie Gunning, Dayne Lee and Padraig Gould anchor Na Piarsaigh’s challenge and they will be expected to win.

Blackrock vs Carrigtwohill

Two sides coming into this game with a poor run of form just two wins between them, both by Blackrock, but manager Fergal Ryan is not unduly concerned.

Carrigtwohill will need to deliver a big display if they are to win this one.

Stephen Murphy, Niall Cashman, Dylan Stokes, John Cashman and Ciaran Cormack will have enough craft to send last year’s runners up into Round 3.

Midleton vs Bishopstown

The champions of 2013 will be firm favourites in this clash, although they are down a couple of players, among them Killian Burke who is now playing in London, against a Bishopstown side that have had mixed results in the league and will be without Pa Cronin who is out of the country at present.

Shane O’Neill, Ken O’Halloran and Diarmuid Lester are their key men, but if Conor Lehane and Luke O’Farrell hit form, Midleton will win.

St Finbarr’s vs Newcestown

Two years ago Newcestown were on the verge of a historic win, but a late ‘Barrs goal forced extra-time before they ran out winners in a tight contest. Ronan Curran is now guiding the fortunes of the Blues as they bid to build on a good campaign last year but they have a few injury worries, among them the experienced Eoin Keane. Damien Cahalane is in good form while Billy Hennessey, Glenn O’Connor, Eoin Finn and Bill Beckett are vital components of an improving ‘Barrs side.

Newcestown will look to Cork senior Luke Meade, Carthach Keane and Eoin Kelly, but the odds favour St Finbarr’s.

Kanturk vs Newtownshandrum

A big day for Kanturk as they make their debut in the Senior Championship - the first club from the Duhallow Division - and they do so on the back of a good league win over Bandon. As usual the McLoughlins, Anthony Nash, Aidan Walsh and Darren Browne will lead their challenge.

Newtown have mixed results, and a bit more experience at this level. With Tim O’Mahoney their big player, they start as favourites, but don’t rule out a Kanturk win.

Sarsfields vs Ballyhea

Sars' started the season in great form but it has dipped slightly in the last few games. They still have a lot of quality in their team. Daniel Kearney, Conor O’Sullivan and Jack O’Connor look to have enough experience and quality to get them safely into Round 3 but the will be without the two Eoins, Quigley and O’Sullivan, through injury.

Pa O’Callaghan remains a key scorer for the North Cork side, but unless the others chip in with the scoring, they will struggle.

Premier Intermediate Hurling

Some intriguing games in this very competitive championship, not least the meeting of Valley Rovers and Blarney, who had the distinction of playing in the first club game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last year. Valleys won easily, and while they are favourites again, Blarney will surely be better this time round.

Last season’s runner’s up Mallow should get the better of Cloyne, while Fermoy might shade their clash with Carrigaline.

Two big East Cork derbies in Killeagh on Saturday night. Newly promoted Fr O’Neill’s look to be too good for Aghada whose results have been poor and they are also without a few key players.

Youghal, relegated from senior, will have a real tough test against Castlelyons who will have to plan without the injured Colm Barry. It’s hard to call, but a hesitant nod to Youghal, while Ballinhassig should get the better of Watergrasshill.

Intermediate Hurling

Ballincollig will fancy their chances against Meelin; Dungourney will be too strong for Douglas’ second string side, and the meeting of last year’s Junior champions St Catherine’s and Grenagh looks an interesting encounter, with the East Cork side slight favourites.

Camogie

Two big finals with Cork hoping to make it a double but tough tasks in both.

McDonagh Park, Nenagh at 2pm is the venue on Saturday for the All-Ireland Minor Final as the Jerry Wallis-trained Cork girls bid to end a long wait for this title to return to Leeside against the reigning champions Galway.

In Freshford in Kilkenny on Sunday at 2pm, Cork will face Westmeath in the Littlewoods Division 2 League Final as Cork bid for back-to-back titles, which would be a nice achievement.

Rachel O’Callaghan, Keeva McCarthy, Katelyn Hickey, Lauren Callanan, Finola Neville (if fit), and Sarah Harrington will anchor the Cork challenge, which should be strong enough to retain the title.

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