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Páirc set for eastern invasion

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018 4:00pm

Can Imokilly emulate Glen Rovers' feat of 2015/16 and retain the famed Seán Óg Murphy or will Midleton repeat their 2013 heroics and climb the winners rostrum?

 

Imokilly vs Midleton

The Senior Hurling County Final has the makings of an intriguing decider between two very balanced teams, even if Imokilly would appear to have more in reserve when it comes to the bench, as they showed in their games to date.

Midleton, though, as selector Terence McCarthy explained are really looking forward to the game. “It’s every teams ambition to be playing on County Final day; it’s our first since our last win five years ago, so yeah we're thrilled to be there again.”

However he is also conscious of the task awaiting them: “We are well aware of Imokilly’s quality - they were great champions, and with the local rivalry, it is going to make for a fascinating match, but we have every confidence in our lads to really test what is a good side.”

It’s a point echoed by Midleton captain Luke O’Farrell who is currently enjoying a great run of form. “It’s been good, a different role to what I am used to, but so far so good and hopefully one more good display to help us get over the line.”

Luke says the local rivalry adds another element to the final. “It does indeed, but that is for everyone else to worry about, for us it’s just about concentrating on getting into the right frame of mind for what is going to a serious test for us, but one we are looking forward to.”

For Imokilly, who looked vulnerable in their narrow win over Newcestown, they really turned on the style in disposing of a highly rated UCC side and that pleased Bill Cooper, newly involved this year as a result of Youghal’s relegation.

“It was a good performance, a big improvement on the previous round. I suppose the game with Newcestown brought us on and we had two good weeks training and that helped.”

It’s been a long and tough year, especially with Cork, for Bill so Sunday’s final is welcome. “It has but that is what we play for and I am looking forward to it, and hopefully we can win, but Midleton are a proud and tough team to play against and we will need to be at our best to win.”

Equally Colm Spillane, another who didn’t play last season with Imokilly as he was with UCC, says Sunday’s final is unique: “Very, East Cork people love their hurling and I am sure that will be reflected on Sunday, in what should be a good game, and a tough one.”

Colm is well aware that Midleton represent a formidable threat. “They are a very proud club, and with their division in the opposite corner, I am sure it will give them extra motivation and we will have to match that if we are to win, and hopefully we can, if not we might struggle.”

As for the game itself, it’s full of intrigue, and the match-ups will be crucial, with quality in both sides.

Harnedy, O’Keeffe, Spillane, Lawton and Cooper for Imokilly, while Lehane, Wallis, O’Leary Hayes, Farrell and Haughney are key men for Midleton.

The champions are favourites, and rightly so, and as mentioned they would appear to have more options, especially off the bench. But Midleton have shown great resolve in their wins of late, and that will give them confidence, especially if it’s tight in the last quarter.

The odds favour Imokilly but it would be silly to write off Midleton and they are well capable of winning, and they just might.

Intermediate

 

An interesting encounter here, and all credit to Blackrock - this is their second team that have made it to this final. They face a Ballincollig side that were really tested before eventually overcoming a resolute Mayfield side in the semi-final.

Blackrock were excellent in their win over a fancied Éire Óg team in the semi-final, and with all the players still available, they will really test Ballincollig especially if Eoin O’Farrell, Ryan Cantwell, Colin O’Leary, Alan Hogan and Fergus Ryan play to their undoubted potential.

Ballincollig were both impressive and vulnerable at times in their win over Mayfield but had the resolve to dig out a win, and had impressive performers in Liam Jennings, Ciaran O’Sullivan, Ian Coughlan, Cian Dorgan, Luke Fahy and Karl Walsh.

Ballincollig will see this as an ideal opportunity to take their place in the higher grade where they feel they belong, and it’s an opportunity they should take, but they will get a severe test from a battling ‘Rockies.

One other game that should be worth taking in is the Premier Intermediate Hurling semi-final replay of the Rovers, Valley's vs Courcey's, on Saturday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 6.15pm.

The drawn encounter was a cracker, with Courcey’s grabbing a deserved leveller; if the replay is half as good few will complain and a nod to Valley’s to complete the job this time round.

In junior hurling, Brian Dillons and Kilbree return for their replay to Cloughduv on Saturday at 7.30pm, while Newmarket meet Cloughduv in Mallow at 4pm.

 

Football

A couple of big games in football, none more so then the senior semi-final replay of Castlehaven and Duhallow on Sunday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 7.30pm.

Duhallow looked to have secured their place in the final when they led by seven points with the sands of time running out, but they let that lead slip, as the ‘Haven displayed remarkable resilience to claw it back.

They may have cause to regret not closing it out, as for Duhallow it will have felt like a loss. However they still look good in attack with classy forwards, but buoyed by their fightback, the ‘Haven get the nod to set up a final meeting with St Finbarr’s.

The ‘Barrs are involved in the intermediate semi-final when they play Aghabullogue who easily saw off Mayfield last weekend.

It was somewhat of a surprise when the ‘Barrs beat Knocknagree, but a number of that team have played senior.

While they have plenty of talent in Togher, this looks like a bridge too far for them, but it’s a fair achievement to make it to the last four.

Two junior replays, Ballymartle and Delaneys meet in Ovens on Saturday, with Kilmacabea vs Boherbue heading to Kilmurry with both games at 4pm.

 

Senior Camogie Final

A unique pairing in Castle Road on Saturday at 3pm, with champions and three in-a-row seeking Inniscarra facing first time finalists Courcey Rovers.

Both have looked good in reaching the final and Courcey’s win over former champions Milford has seen them emerge as genuine contenders and they will present the holders with a tough hour.

Linda Collins is a classy forward and well able to garner scores and gets good support from Christine O’Neill, Fiona Keating and Ashley Moloney while Sarah Hayes gives them experience off the bench if required.

Inniscarra, though, have shown over the last couple of years how good they are. Rena Buckley provides them with invaluable experience and leadership and rarely plays a bad game, while her sister Mary, Niamh McCarthy, Niamh Dilworth and Treasa McCarthy have the advantage of experiencing county final day, which gives them a vital edge.

One factor that neither side can control is the conditions, and that might have a bearing on the outcome, but that aside expect a cracking contest and Inniscarra to shade it.

Ladies Football replay

Following the drama, and some would say controversy of last week’s Senior Football Final draw, West Cork and Mourneabbey face off on Sunday in Cloughduv at 4pm.

Whatever about the drama, the drawn encounter was a cracker and with very little between the teams expect the same again. The odds favour Mourneabbey again, but the West Cork side will certainly make it difficult for the holders once more, who might just finish the job this time around.

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