Saturday 22 February 2020

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Cork Independent


Big weekend for Cork teams

Wednesday, 31st July, 2019 4:18pm

With no fewer than five Cork teams in action over the weekend between all codes, it makes for an exciting few days, added to further by a number of knockout games in the County Championships.

Cork vs Kilkenny

In the immediate aftermath of the one point loss to Tipperary in the Under 20 Munster Hurling Final, manager Denis Ring said: “The focus is now on Kilkenny. We knew coming up here (that) a defeat would not end our season; naturally we wanted to win, but at least we are still in the championship.”

Continuing, he remarked: “This group has already won two Munster titles and we still have a chance of an All-Ireland and we are determined to give it our best shot.”

For long periods in Thurles, Cork looked like winning, but a period before half-time proved costly and of course there was the sucker punch goal at the end.

A concern might be the fact that this team has now lost its last two big games to late scores, an area the management will be keen to work on, and I am sure they have.

The margin between winning and losing is small; Cork had 11 wides in the final and one of the Tipp points was clearly wide, so there is not a whole lot wrong really.

Cutting out the errors and aimless shooting are two areas that must improve if they are to beat Kilkenny.

With their senior and minor teams already in finals, Kilkenny will be keen to keep the momentum going, a point DJ Carey will emphasise to his team.

Adrian Mullen is a key player for them while Eoin Cody, Evan Shefflin, James Brennan, Niall Brassil, Michael Carey and Sean Ryan offer cool and composed assistance.

Cork need their big men to step up and display the leadership qualities required at this level and in this regard Sean O’Leary Hayes, Ger Mellerick, Robert Downey, Eoin Roche, Shane O’Regan and Daire Connery will not be found wanting.

Kilkenny, it is said and rightly so, will always show up with intensity, if Cork can match that they will win and keep theirs and the county's intercounty hurling season alive - anything less and it will end.

Cork vs Dublin

With 40 minutes played in the semi-final, Cork trailed Tyrone by 0-7 and looked like exiting the championship. However the Ulster champions had a player dismissed, the Cork substitutions made a telling scoring impact and they went on to fashion a famous win.

Manager Keith Ricken was thrilled: “Character, they have it in spades. Okay they made mistakes but they set about rectifying it and got their just reward.”

As for the final Ricken had this to say: “It’s great to be looking forward to it, for the players and everyone in the county, we will do our prep work during the week and we will be ready.”

Dublin will be favourites, though? “I suppose they will but then that’s only a term and finals take on a life of their own. We played them already, they know us and we know them so there will be no real surprises on the day.”

The sides met in the John Kerins Cup, ironically in Portlaoise, and after a very competitive contest, it finished all square and both teams had the majority of their championship sides on duty.

Dublin eased through Leinster and looked impressive in seeing off a highly rated Galway side in the semi-final.

Ciaran Archer is their main man in attack and his scoring exploits are well documented so whoever is detailed to mark him will face a tough hour.

However the Cork defence has impressed all season with quality defending from goalkeeper Josh O’Keeffe, Peter O’Driscoll, Paul Ring and Gearoid O’Donovan, who are all excellent.

Brian Hartnett has been outstanding in midfield, while the attack has quality scorers in Cathal O’Mahony, Colm O’Callaghan, Mark Cronin and Colm Barrett.

Add in Mark Hodnett, Fionn Herlihy and Jack Murphy which gives them depth and options in the squad.

Apart from Archer, Dublin can call on Eoin O’Dea, Neil Matthews, Peadar O’Cofaigh, Karl Lynch and Ross McGarry.

The Leinster champions will rightly start as favourites, but Cork has seen off Kerry and Tyrone and will be determined to show that they have the quality to win; they certainly have the spirit and determination and that might be good enough to get them over the line.

Cork vs Roscommon

It did not turn out as we would have hoped, but be that as it may, it is still an important match for the home side - it is vital to win and end the season on a positive note.

The players and management were very disappointed at the loss to Tyrone but manager Ronan McCarthy stressed: “We will prepare just like we did for all the other games and it is one we are keen to win.”

It might be that bit harder for Roscommon to get up for this game given the manner in which Dublin beat them and then having to endure the long journey to Cork.

But Anthony Cunningham will also want to sign off with a win.

In a challenge game a few weeks back Cork won, and with Ian Maguire, Ruairi Deane, Michael Hurley, James Loughrey and Mattie Taylor showing good form, a home win looks on the cards.

All three games will be broadcast live on C103.

County Championship

Apart from the junior grade, there's been very little championship action in the county over the last few months but that will all change very quickly with a raft of games down for decision commencing this weekend.

First up tonight (Thursday) in Whitechurch at 7.30pm, it’s the meeting of Sarsfields and Blackrock in the Premier Under 21 hurling. The latter had a good weekend with two league titles heading to Church Road but the Riverstown side are fancied here.

On Friday, in Premier Intermediate hurling, Cloyne and Valley Rovers meet in Church Road. Paudie O’Sullivan looks like an absentee for the East Cork side and Valleys look better equipped to win in this knockout contest.

Páirc Uí Rinn is the venue for the Junior B hurling decider between Lough Rovers and Castletownroche with the Bandon Road-based side favoured to prevail, while in Ballincollig St Catherine’s will be expected to defeat Barryroe, with Midleton set to get the nod over Milford in Glantane. All games throw-in at 7.30pm.

There are two big senior games on Sunday with four clubs bidding to keep their season alive. In Midleton it's the all East Cork clash of Killeagh and Carrigtwohill, both of whom have struggled in recent years, but Carrig might just shade this one.

Páirc Uí Rinn will see Newcestown and Newtownshandrum collide to determine Blackrock’s opponents in the next round, and the presence of the hard working Luke Meade might help the West Cork lads edge this one, but Tim O’Mahoney will be a key man for Newtownshandrum.

The final game of the weekend is on Monday, also in Ballincollig, where Na Piarsaigh should be too strong for Dripsey.

Camogie and Ladies Football

Having suffered a surprise defeat, and in the process conceding four goals, Cork now play Tyrone in the All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Quarter-Final and if they can eradicate their defensive issues, they should be to good for the Ulster side in a game that goes ahead on Saturday at 3pm in Duggan Park, Ballinasloe.

In the All-Ireland Minor A Final, it’s Cork vs Monaghan on Monday in O’Connor Park Tullamore at 3pm and John Cleary’s charges are hot favourites to land another title.

Finally in camogie on Saturday in the Intermediate Camogie Championship, it's a must win game for Cork and they are also dependent on results elsewhere to keep their ambitions alive when they play Westmeath in Kinnegad at 5pm.

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