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Glen v Midleton the pick of hurling championship ties

Wednesday, 17th April, 2019 4:10pm

Finbarr McCarthy

John Meyler and his backroom team will be keeping a close eye on a packed hurling weekend, where the majority of the panel will be in action. He will be hoping they all play well and avoid injury with the Munster Championship opener with Tipperary just around the corner.

For the first time that I can recall there is a major break in tradition with games being played on Good Friday - the attendance at these matches will be watched with interest.

Senior Hurling

Clyda Rover’s excellent facilities are the venue for this encounter. It’s a repeat of a third round clash of a short few years ago in which Bishopstown emerged winners.

League form has been mixed; Bishopstown had a narrow win over Ballinhassig, while Newtown could only manage four points in a loss to Newcestown.

Tim O’Mahoney and Jamie Coughlan are the key men for the North Cork side who always deliver big performances on championship day. Bishopstown have a couple of injury worries but can call on the experienced trio of Ken O’Halloran, Shane O’Neill and Patrick Cronin and that might get them over the line.

Kanturk vs Sarsfields

It’s a tough one for Kanturk against one of the more consistent sides in the championship, who are eager to get back on the winner’s rostrum.

Tadgh Og Murphy is Sars' captain this year and he leads a team laced with quality and experience, including Daniel Kearney, Craig Leahy, Conor O’Sullivan and Jack O’Connor.

It’s a second year at senior level for Kanturk who had a good campaign last year and will make it tough for Sars, especially with their Cork trio of Darren Browne, Aidan Walsh and Anthony Nash; throw in the McLoughlins, John and Lorcán, but the odds favour Sars.

St Finbarr's vs Carrigtwohill

It’s been a tough few years for Carrigtwohill and wins have been rare and it’s hard to see them getting one here, despite a couple of good league results and the input of coach Keith Ricken - they have worked hard. Ronan Curran is developing a nice squad in Togher with Damien Cahalane a leading player for them, and good support from Billy Hennessey, Glenn O’Connor, Conor Cahalane and Shane Hurley, they should win.

Bride Rovers vs Douglas

Potentially one of the games of the weekend and hard to call a winner with good players on both sides.

Bride Rovers enjoyed a good campaign last year including an impressive win over Na Piarsaigh and in Barry Johnson, Daniel Dooley and the Roche twins Eoin and Barry, they have players capable of testing anyone.

Kieran Kingston and Shane Brick are now guiding the fortunes of a Douglas side that should, given the talent available, be making a bigger impact on the championship. Shane Kingston, Eoin and Alan Cadogan are their Cork seniors while Stephen Moylan and Brian Turnbull are top class players.

It’s time for Douglas to make a statement of intent and this might just be the game to do it,

Blackrock vs Ballyhea

Runners-up two years ago, the ‘Rockies would have expected to build on that last year but were disappointed at their exit in the semi-final, but they should get this year’s campaign off to a winning start.

Ballyhea are over reliant on Pa O’Callaghan for scores and they struggle when he is contained, and with Michael O’Halloran, Niall Cashman, Shane O’Keeffe and Stephen Murphy anchoring the Blackrock challenge, it’s hard to see them slipping up.

Erin’s Own vs Charleville

It’s a huge occasion for Charleville as they make their senior championship debut against a side that had the benefit of a winning outing over Ballymartle last weekend. Ben O’Connor is still guiding their fortunes, and with Darragh Fitzgibbon and Daniel O’Flynn among their key performers, they will relish the challenge this game will present.

Robbie O‘Flynn remains a doubt for Erin’s Own but in his absence Mark Collins, James O’Flynn and Eoghan Murphy stepped up to the plate and they will need to do so again if they are to hold off what is sure to be a stern test from last year’s Premier Intermediate Champions.

Na Piarsaigh vs Killeagh

Following a disappointing campaign last year, Na Piarsaigh have shown this year that they have the players well capable of making an impact and with a backroom team that brought them success some years ago, they are certainly moving in the right direction.

Christopher Joyce, Eddie Gunning, Evan Sheehan and Daire Connery impressed in their recent wins, but they did suffer a surprise defeat to Kanturk last week and that might knock any complacency out of them.

Killeagh’s form has been poor and they will hope that players like Cillian Treacy and Andy Leahy can deliver big games in an effort to cause an upset, unlikely though and Na Piarsaigh should and probably will win.

 

Glen Rovers vs Midleton

Without a doubt, this is the pick of the first round ties and a repeat of last year’s encounter in which Midleton won by one point en route to the final, where they lost to Imokilly. Despite that loss, they very nearly ousted Ballygunner in the Munster Championship and subsequently won the minor county and were beaten in the under 21 decider so there's plenty of talent at their disposal.

They do have injury concerns around Luke O’Farrell and Paul Haughney but they still have excellent players in Conor Lehane, Sean O’Leary Hayes, James Nagle and Tommy Wallis.

Glen’s results were poor up to last week when they had two very good outings against Douglas and Blackrock but could be without Donal Cronin and Mark Dooley.

Patrick Horgan, as ever, remains their go to player and with Dean Brosnan, Cathal Hickey, David Dooling, Robert Downey and Brian Moylan all playing well, they will be keen to reverse last season’s result and they may well do just that.

Newcestown vs Bandon

A West Cork derby in hurling for the second year in a row and once again it should attract a big crowd to Clonakilty as it did last year in a game that Newcestown won with a bit to spare.

Michael Cahalane has played little hurling this year owing to injury and if absent will represent a huge blow to Bandon. By contrast Luke Meade’s form has been excellent for Newcestown and with Daniel Twomey, Eoin Kelly and Trevor Horgan offering solid support, a repeat result could be on the cards.

Premier Intermediate Hurling

There are five games in this highly competitive competition as the race to succeed Charleville gets underway.

Inniscarra with Sean O’Donoghue on board will be fancied against Watergrasshill; a big test for Ballincollig when they face a quality Fr O’Neill’s side who will be expected to win.

An East Cork derby should go the way of Castlelyons in their clash with Youghal; Mark Coleman will be key for Blarney as will Padraig Power and Declan O’Hanlon but they will need to be at their best to get over Ballinhassig, while Mallow will start as favourites in their meeting with Carrigaline.

Camogie and Ladies Football

There are two big games to round off a hectic Easter weekend of action, with the Cork minor camogie team in the All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny in the WIT Grounds on Saturday at 2pm.

The team showed their determination to retain their title with a battling draw last week in Gort to keep them on track, and if Molly Lynch, Fiona Keating, Hannah Sexton, Clodagh Finn and Emer Murphy repeat their excellence of last week, they should win.

Nowlan Park in Kilkenny on Sunday at 2pm is the venue for the Lidl Ladies Football National League Semi-Final between Cork and Dublin. They met a couple of weeks ago in what was essentially a dead rubber as both had qualified, but it should not take from what was an excellent win for Cork.

Dublin, the All-Ireland champions, will be hurting but if Orla Finn, Libby Coppinger, Hannah Looney and the O’Sullivan sisters can deliver big games they are well capable of inflicting another defeat on their keenest rivals and in the process lay down a marker for the championship in the summer.

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