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The big games keep coming

Thursday, 15th August, 2019 8:49am

A huge weekend is on the cards as champions Cork put their All-Ireland camogie title, and with it their three in a row ambitions, on the line when they play Galway in the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday. Elsewhere, the county championships continue with both hurling and football club fixtures down for decision.

 

Camogie Semi-Final

Cork vs Galway

Manager Paudie Murray, while looking forward to the game, has a number of concerns. “A couple really with injuries to Catriona Mackey and Briege Corkery, while the lack of a meaningful game in recent weeks is not a help.”

It’s a situation they have found themselves in for the last few years and they have coped.

“We have,” says Murray, “and we have to deal with it and to be fair the players have always responded to the circumstances we find ourselves in, their attitude and approach is exemplary.”

As for Galway, Murray has no illusions about the task facing his side. “They are the league champions and they have the benefit of a tough quarter-final against Waterford a couple of weeks ago, and they have regularly been in and won underage titles, so we know the quality they have in their team.”

Galway actually trailed Waterford by 2-17 to 1-6 in the quarter-final but a strong second half showing, helped by good displays from Niamh Kilkenny, Sarah Healy, Carrie Dolan, Aoife O’Donoghue and Ailish O’Reilly, got them over the line.

Cork though have a wealth of experience and class in their team, and despite everything, will be well prepared for whatever Galway produce.

Aoife Murray remains the top goalkeeper in the game, Laura Treacy, Pamela Mackey and Gemma O’Connor are excellent defenders while from midfield up, Catriona Mackey, Orla Cotter, Linda Collins, Amy O’Connor and Hannah Looney have enough quality to unhinge any defence.

As champions, Cork will start as favourites, and despite all the sideshows about injuries and quarter-finals, there is enough quality in the side, and on the bench, to win and that is what I expect the outcome to be. Kilkenny will probably overcome Tipp in the second semi-final so the odds favour a Cork vs Kilkenny final for the third year in a row.

One must also question the timing of this game, do the Camogie Association really expect to attract a crowd to the Gaelic Grounds on a Saturday evening at 7.15pm? And what about Kilkenny supporters, many of whom will be Croke Park bound on Sunday? We have found in the past that the last people to be considered are those who actually support the games. While I am on a rant, appointing a Kilkenny person to take charge of the Cork game is, well, a strange choice.

Senior Hurling Championship

With St Finbarr's and Newtownshandrum safely through to the quarter-finals, and with it senior status secured, a couple of more clubs will endeavour to join them after this weekend’s games.

Glen Rovers vs Charleville

Mallow is the venue for this intriguing encounter on Saturday at 7pm and for Charleville it has added significance.

The system denied them a place in the Senior Hurling League this year, but as Division 2 winners they will play in it next year, but they will need an extended run in the championship if they are to be in the main senior championship next season. Confused? Well a lot of people are!

There is a nice balance in their team, with Darragh Fitzgibbon their key man, and he gets excellent support from Daniel O’Flynn, Andrew Cagney, Kevin O’Connor and Jack Doyle.

This will represent their biggest test to date; Glen won a tight contest against Midleton but given that is was all of 12 weeks ago, that might be a concern for them.

That said, it’s a team with a lot senior medal winners in the ranks; David Dooling, Dean Brosnan, Brian Moylan, Donal Cronin, Adam Lynch and of course Patrick Horgan, and with that sort of quality, it’s hard to see the North Cork side winning but it could be a close contest.

Carrigtowhill vs Bandon

A match in Ovens on Saturday at 7pm that both sides will feel they are capable of winning, and having come through a tough battle with Killeagh a couple of weeks ago, Carrigtowhill might just have an edge in terms of match sharpness. Michael Cahalane is a big player for Bandon while Jamie McCarthy, Tomas Hogan, Shane Devlin and Liam Gosnell will lead the Carrig challenge who might have enough in hand to win.

Senior Football Championship

Castlehaven vs Carbery Rangers

A West Cork derby in Skibbereen to savour between two sides that were semi-finalists last year. For one the season will end on Saturday and even for the winners it’s the daunting task of facing champions St Finbarr’s in the next round.

Castlehaven lost the Division 2 league final to Mallow a couple of weeks ago, but with their intercounty contingent back in harness, they will relish this challenge.

The Hurley brothers, Michael and Brian, Mark Collins and Damien and Conor Cahalane remain pivotal to the ‘Haven cause, while ‘Ross will look to John O’Rourke, James Fitzpatrick, John Hayes and Mark Hodnett in an effort to keep their championship aspirations alive.

Local derbies are impossible to call as they generally take on a life off their own, but a slight fancy for the ‘Haven to advance.

Nemo Rangers vs Dohenys

This game is a bit easier to call as Nemo face Dohenys in Brinny.

This is a relatively young Dohenys side who can call on Mark Buckley and Cork under 20 star Fionn Herlihy, but Nemo are stacked with experience and quality in Mark Cronin, Luke Connolly, Paul Kerrigan and Stephen Cronin and are odds on favourites to win, and should justify that favouritism.

Duhallow vs Carrigaline

The divisional side were beaten finalists last year and once again have a strong squad at their disposal, but a number of them will be in action before they arrive in Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday at 7pm, and that will not help.

Carrigaline will have been thrilled at the win, and the manner of it, against Bishopstown last week and that will fill them with confidence but the depth in the Duhallow team might prove to be much for them.

Premier Intermediate Football

Macroom vs St Vincent’s

A lively contest here as the city side look to extend their season and will hope that Cork under 20 star Blake Murphy can maintain the form he has shown in recent weeks. He is likely to be joined on this occasion by his father John Paul Murphy and another veteran Paddy O’Shea.

As ever Fintan Goold remains a key player for Macroom, but a nod to the Saints to win.

Éire Óg vs Newmarket

This could very well be the pick of the games over the weekend as both teams have quality players.

Éire Óg were really tested by Aghada last week, prevailing in extra-time, and that will help them and once again Daniel Goulding, Kevin Hallissey, Ronan O’Toole and Colm O’Callaghan have big roles to play.

Newmarket are a good solid team who work hard for each other and they will certainly test the mid Cork men, and could even shade it.

Intermediate Football

Two games here; Millstreet and Mayfield meet in Donoughmore, and while the Duhallow lads have Mark Ellis and Michael Vaughan leading their challenge, Mayfield are a resilient side and will not make it easy for the favourites.

Likewise the clash of Ballydesmond and Glanmire in Glantane could be close and not for the first time Donnacha O’Connor is the main threat for the Ballydesmond, and if he is held, they will struggle for scores and that could tilt the tie in Glanmire’s direction.

Premier Intermediate Hurling

Inniscarra, buoyed by their excellent and well deserved win over Ballinhassig, will take that confidence into their clash with Mallow.

Colm Casey was in great form last week, while Sean O’Donoghue and John O’Callaghan remain pivotal to their challenge. Mallow will look to Cian O’Riordan and Cormac Murphy to ignite their challenge, and despite Inniscarra having a game under their belt, Mallow to win.

Ballincollig had a great win over last year’s runners-up, Courcey Rovers, a game they entered as underdogs and they find themselves in a similar situation for this clash with Valley Rovers, who have big name players including Chris O’Leary, and with a bit more experience at this level, they should win.

There is one game in the intermediate championship, and having used a few players that were involved in with their seniors last week, Midleton might pay the price when the face Tracton on Saturday in Ballinora.

Finally, a big night in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday for the Junior B Hurlers of Castletownroche and Lough Rovers in the county final, with the latter fancied to win.

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