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Super Saturday in Páirc Uí Rinn

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019 4:55pm

With Páirc Uí Chaoimh out of commission, the hosting of three games in Páirc Uí Rinn in the space of a few hours is testimony to the quality of surface at the venue and I am sure it will, as it always is, be in top class condition for what should be a cracking day of hurling.


CBC Cork vs Midleton CBS

It's a first all-Cork final in this competition since 1994 while Paudie O’Sullivan was the last Corkman to lift the Dr Harty Cup in 2006. It should make for a wonderful occasion on Saturday as two quality teams bid for glory.

For Midleton, it’s a return visit having lost in the decider last year and they hope that experience will stand to them.

Team Manager Ian Cooney said they are thrilled to be back again: “It’s brilliant for the school and the lads involved, we are taking it game by game and that is our approach to this final.”

It was put to Ian that the build up this year is a bit more low key. “Maybe from the management's point of view but there is still a great level of excitement in the school and we are all looking forward to what is sure to be a great occasion.”

Ian, though, is well aware that they face a tough task. “We know we are up against a quality side, but we are confident in our own ability and we will give it our best shot, and we hope that it will be good enough to win.”

For CBC it’s a first final in over 100 years, and while more renowned for their exploits with the oval ball, this is a project that has been five years in the making as manager Tony Wall explained. “The ethos of the school is, if we go into anything, we do it properly and give 100 per cent, and that’s exactly what has transpired.”

Tony continued: “We started off in the ‘B’ grade and gradually made progress which we are thrilled with and getting to the semi-final last year was a huge boost and at the same time a disappointment that we lost.”

Both teams are laced with good players and many of them were in direct opposition in last year's County Premier Minor Final so there's a degree of familiarity there, while in the course of the campaign, lady luck has fallen their way, both getting late goals to keep their ambitions alive.

CBC had their moment in the quarter-final, while Midleton struck late in their semi-final, so the omens were good for an all-Cork final.

There are classy players on each team: Ross O’Regan, Ryan McCarthy, Joe Stack, Dylan Hogan, Ciaran Joyce, Sam Quirke and Cian Farmer for Midleton CBS, while Declan O’Hanlon, Shane Barrett, Cian Long, Gearoid Mulcahy, Jack Cahalane, Padraig Power, Kevin Finn and Cillian O’Donovan anchor the CBC team.

It's a hard one to call, and not having seen Midleton play makes it that bit harder, but I will take a punt on CBC based on the evidence of their semi-final win over Thurles which was played in difficult conditions, and they were comfortable in the end.

The curtain-raiser on Saturday at 12pm is the ‘B’ Final, again another all-Cork final, with Rochestown College facing Hamilton High School Bandon. Both sides impressed in their semi-final wins and it should make for another lively contest.

Cork vs Clare

A must win game for Cork on the back of two defeats, the last one to Wexford was particularly disappointing, not helped by the dreadful surface that both sides endured in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Clare, by contrast, are coming into this game on the back of a very impressive win over Kilkenny and they will be keen to maintain that winning sequence, and having already beaten Cork in the Munster League, they will relish lowering their colours this time on Leeside. Despite there being no relegation, the Cork management are adamant that it has not altered their approach to the league; in fact, they were very disappointed at the display against Wexford.

There are of course mitigating circumstances that limit team selection, injuries to key players, Fitzgibbon Cup commitments, and up until this week Darragh Fitzgibbon was unavailable and given his schedule, he may not feature in the league at all.

Clare looked good in the win over Brian Cody’s side and will look to Colm Galvin, John Conlon, Rory Hayes, David Fitzgerald, Diarmuid Ryan and Peter Duggan, while Tony Kelly will return after his harsh sending-off and subsequent one match ban, in a bid to make it back-to-back wins.

The composition of the Cork team will be interesting, but it could see a return for Stephen McDonnell in defence and the retention of Tim O’Mahoney at centre-back. Bill Cooper is as competitive as ever, as is Patrick Horgan, Aidan Walsh has impressed at full-forward and hopefully a more productive return from Conor Lehane would boost the chances of a home win.

If Cork are to harbour any hopes of making the quarter-finals, they must win; home advantage on a decent pitch might be enough to get the badly needed two points, if only to lift the gloom surrounding the county right now.


Cork begin the defence of their Division 2 League title with a trip to Carlow on Sunday, and they do so with a completely new team on the back of winning the All-Ireland title last September.

Sigerson Cup

Originally scheduled for Saturday, this game is deferred 24 hours to Sunday in Mallow at 2pm as a couple of the NUIG players are involved with Corofin in the All-Ireland club semi-final. UCC have impressed in their wins to date, but the quality of opposition was a factor, but then you can only play what’s in front of you, and Billy Morgan will have that drilled into his squad ahead of this game.

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