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Big weekend in Munster

Wednesday, 7th November, 2018 4:36pm

In all, five Cork clubs are involved in the AIB Munster Club Championship in football and camogie this weekend and hopefully they can all continue to make progress.

A real tough ask here for the ‘Barr’s who having savoured the joy of winning their county title and the celebrations that followed, got back on the training ground late last week in preparation for this game.

Crokes, well beaten by Nemo in last year’s final, had a comprehensive win over Moyle Rovers last Sunday - a nice warm up for this clash and ideal build-up really - and the comfort of playing in Lewis Road rather than Fitzgerald Stadium will also give them an advantage.

The ‘Barrs, though, have a good record in this championship, even going all the way to Croke Park when they were not the Cork champions, so going in as champions will give them a boost. With the pressure off now that the county has finally been won, they can and probably will play better.

Although, to be fair, their performance in the County Final was excellent and they will test the Kerry champions. Colm Cooper, Johnny Buckley, Kieran O’Leary and Daithí Casey are just a few key men for Crokes and they play a nice quick brand of football which is easy to watch, and at times, hard to contain.

Once again the ‘Barrs will look to the experience of Glenn O’Connor, Michael Shields and Ian Maguire, along with Dylan Quinn, John Kerins and Colin Lyons to try and get them over the line.

The odds favour Crokes, and they should win, but the ‘Barrs, buoyed by the excellence of their win over Duhallow, are well capable of springing a surprise.

 

The Cork champions easily brushed aside Galbally in the quarter-final and will be strongly fancied to make it to final. That's even with Moyne-Templetouhy enjoying home advantage, and with good players in the Hassett brothers Tommy and John who racked up 1-18 in the Tipperary County Final.

Fermoy got off to a sluggish start in last Saturday’s game, but once they settled they always looked comfortable and had the issue settled by half-time.

A concern, though, is they only added two points in the second half, but to be fair it was hard to keep going knowing the outcome was settled.

Jack Hutchins, the Clancys, Tomas and Eoin, Padraig De Roiste, Ruairi O’Hagan, Liam Coleman and Kieran Brennan are all quality players and should win to maintain their push for a provincial title.

Manager Mick Hennessy said after the county final: “We want to go the full distance,” and so it’s so far so good.

It’s a big day for both of these clubs as they enter this arena for the very first time, and an interesting game in prospect. While the Cork lads are favourites, especially with home advantage, they would not want to underestimate the challengers.

Kildimo impressed in winning the Limerick title, and in Peter Nash (he bagged 0-9 in the County Final), Kevin O’Connell, Mossy Sheehan and Conor Staff, they have players well capable of troubling the Duhallow side.

Dromtarriffe, though, will take great heart from their County Final display in which they displayed remarkable resilience to fashion a famous win, and if they play with the same spirit, I am sure they will, it will take a big effort from Kildimo to beat them.

Seamus O’Sullivan is the heartbeat of the team and he gets excellent support from Jack Murphy, goalkeeper Dan Mann (his penalty save in the final a turning point), Evan Murphy, Daniel O’Keeffe and Darren O’Connor, who got two goals when introduced, .

It’s been a long campaign so far but there’s still a kick left in Dromtarriffe, enough to get them the win.

It’s set to be Muskerry invasion of sorts in Leahy Park in Cashel for the Munster intermediate and senior club finals.

Éire Óg are first up against Waterford champions Gaultier at 12.30pm, who have four members of the county senior side in their panel, and in fairness, Waterford have improved immeasurably in recent years. Beth Carton won an All-Star last Friday night, so this represents a tough test for the Ovens' girls.

Aine Lyng and Anne Fitzgerald will spearhead the Gaultier challenge, while Éire Óg will look to Cork intermediate star Siobhan Hutchinson and Margaret O’Herlihy, Roisín Murray and Grace Collins, as they bid for a title that would sit nicely alongside the senior titles won a number of years ago.

This is a big ask for the Cork girls and the odds favour a Gaultier win.

In the senior final, Inniscarra and Inagh/Kilnamona renew their rivalry - a third meeting with one win each - and the Clare side will be buoyed by their win over reigning champions Burgess-Duharra in the semi-final.

Aoibhinn Ryan, Aoife Keane, Amy Keating and Andrea O’Keeffe are key players for a side playing in the third final in a row, and having lost the last two will be hugely motivated.

Inniscarra had an easy win over Ahane in their semi-final and are a very experienced side, led by Rena Buckley, Niamh McCarthy, the industrious Katie O’Mahoney, Niamh Dilworth, Erin Looney and Rosie O’Mahoney.

Inniscarra to win a close contest, and regain a title last held by them in 2010.

The Under 21 Hurling Championship dominates with a number of interesting games down for decision, among them Glen Rovers vs Shandrum, Midleton vs Na Piarsaigh and Blackrock vs Valley Rovers.

The replay of the Under 21 Football Final is on Sunday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 3.15pm, and if it’s as good as the drawn encounter, few will complain.

Riverstown on Sunday at 2pm is the venue for the Senior Hurling League Quarter-Final between Glen Rovers and Bride Rovers.

A great weekend in Dublin with a total of 17 awards between hurling and camogie coming to Leeside, well done to all recipients, also to Paudie Murray and Saoirse McCarthy on their individual awards.

Special mention to Darragh Fitzgibbon; what a week, a county medal on Monday, an All-Star on Friday, then on Saturday he captained Charleville and scored five points in the won over Lixnaw, to send them into the final versus Feakle next week.

A fantastic achievement also for Gemma O’Connor winning her eleventh All-Star, and more to come I would suggest, for a class act on and off the field.

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