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Football double-header in Tullamore

Thursday, 25th July, 2019 10:28am

With football on an upward curve let’s hope this momentum can be maintained when the minor and under 20 teams encounter Ulster opposition in big games on Sunday.

Under 20 - Cork vs Tyrone

A week after meeting at senior level, Cork and Tyrone renew rivalry with a place in the All-Ireland Final at stake.

Tyrone blitzed Derry in the Ulster Final with Peter Canavan’s son Darragh one of their key players, a chip off the old block some are saying, they are far from been a one man team, though.

Derry actually started very well in the final, but a slick Tyrone outfit eventually outplayed them and were comfortable winners, and unlike their senior counterparts they are not as defensively orientated.

Joe Oguz is a quality midfielder and gets excellent support from Conall Grimes, Sean Óg McAleer, Michael Conroy, Conor Quinn and James Garrity.

Cork were absolutely brilliant in dismissing the challenge of a highly rated Kerry side in what turned out to be somewhat of a one sided Munster Final and how long is it since we were able to say that about a Cork vs Kerry game?

Much has been made of the potency of the Cork attack, and it was, but the quality of the defending was as good as I have seen from a team in red in a long while.

It was top class with Paul Ring, Peter O’Driscoll and Gearoid O’Donovan, while goalkeeper Josh O’Keeffe was pivotal to the win.

Midfielders Brian Hartnett and Daniel O’Connell were dominant all through and laid the platform for the polished attack to reel off the match winning scores.

Colm O’Callaghan, Damien Gore, Mark Cronin, Blake Murphy and Cathal O’Mahony were outstanding, and if they can be as effective again, the Tyrone defence will have a tough hour.

In the immediate aftermath of the win over Kerry selector Colm O’Neill was fulsome in his praise for the players.

“They are a great group to be involved with and the amount of hard work they put in has to be seen to believe and tonight they got their just rewards.”

As for the semi-final Colm had this to say: “We know very little about Tyrone as our sole focus was on Kerry, but we will get to that after we enjoy tonight, but knowing the quality of lads in the group we won’t be found wanting.”

It’s a hard one to call but if Cork can deliver the type of performance they produced last Thursday night, they are well capable of winning.

Minor Quarter-Final - Cork vs Monaghan

It is fair to say that up to this year the structure of the Munster Championship militated against that, now with a re-shaped championship, Cork are playing into August with a chance to build a team.

Cork were very good in the Munster Final and somewhat unlucky to lose, only a few simple errors denied them victory, but the improvement in that game from the win over Clare was very evident.

Now if the level of improvement can be maintained they could extend their season for another couple of weeks.

However any team that can win the Ulster Championship must and will be respected, and no doubt Bobby and his selectors will have viewed that game and put the lessons learned into practice.

There is a nice balance to this Cork team, Sean Andrews, Daniel Linehan and Tadhg O’Donoghue are solid defenders, while the midfield pairing of Jack Lawton and Kelan Scannell are hard working and effective.

In attack Conor Corbett, Patrick Campbell and Jack Cahalane are dangerous and have an eye for goal.

Monaghan looked good in winning the Uster Championship and have good players in Jason Irwin, Liam McDonald and Tiernan Kierans and will really test Cork.

It’s all of a month since Cork have played but their preparation has been excellent, and if they can get a good start and supply they attack with quality ball, they have the ability to win. But, as with all Ulster sides, a tough hour lies ahead.

County League Finals

In all six finals between hurling and football are down for decision and the fact that the Cork football management have released their players to play in the games is a wise move and should add to the appeal of the fixtures.

First up on Friday night is the Rochestown Park Hotel sponsored Division 2 Football final between Castlehaven and Mallow in Kilmurry at 7.30pm, Mark Collins and the Hurley brothers will be in direct opposition to Mattie Taylor and James Loughrey with a lively game in prospect and a nod to the ‘Haven.

Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday at 6pm is the venue for the Division 1 Final, for the coveted Kelleher Shield trophy and it pits county champions St Finbarr's against Cill Na Martra who were the intermediate champions last year and who recently won the Tom Creedon Cup, but you would expect the ‘Barrs to win this one.

The Division 3 decider pits Ilen Rovers against Douglas in Clonakilty with a 2.30pm start on Saturday, and if they have their full complement of intercounty players available, Douglas might just shade this one.

The last football decider is the Division 5 clash of Na Piarsaigh vs Dromtarriffe in Mourneabbey on Wednesday next at 7.30pm.

The one hurling final is the Division 1 meeting of Sarsfields and Blackrock on Saturday at 7.45pm in Páirc Uí Rinn and it should be a cracker between two teams in good form right now. Sars' are the holders but the ‘Rockies are moving well and might be in better shape right now.

Camogie and Ladies Football

With Cork safely anchored in the All-Ireland senior semi-final, the SE Systems County Senior Championship got underway this week and continues with four games listed.

Tonight (Thursday) there are two games; in Castle Road at 7.30pm it's Glen Rovers vs Ballincollig with the city side favoured to win, while in Cloughduv at 7.45pm reigning champions Inniscarra should be too strong for Éire Óg, who will be without a few key players through holiday commitments.

Two more game scheduled for Friday; it’s St Finbarrs vs Ballygarvan in Castle Road - a close contest but a nod to the ‘Barrs, while in Brinny Cloughduv meet Carbery who have a game under their belt and that might just give them a slight edge, 7.30pm start in both games.

Having easily accounted for Cavan last week, Cork once again encounter Ulster opposition on Saturday in O’Connor Park Tullamore. This time it's Armagh they face, who despite scoring 6-8 last time out, still lost to Cavan.

On that basis, and with Orla Finn in scintillating scoring form, there will be only one winner here.

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