Friday 18 October 2019

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Semi-finals top the bill

Wednesday, 2nd October, 2019 3:40pm

Senior Hurling Championship

Carrigtwohill and Glen Rovers open proceedings in Páirc Uí Rinn in a first meeting in the championship since 2012, a game won by the East Cork side.

Very few, even Carrig supporters, would have envisaged they would end up in the semi-final given that they shipped a 24 point loss to St Finbarrs in the first round.

That said, they are here on merit and the manner in which they have re-grouped reflects greatly on the players and the management team and they will enter this game in confident mood and will fancy their chances of making the final.

Glen Rovers haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders in their campaign to date and were one point winners in their last two games against North Cork opposition, games that could very easily have gone the other way.

Indeed, were it not for the heroics of goalkeeper Cathal Hickey, their season would be over by now while Dave Dooling and Stephen McDonnell excelled in defence.

Glen will start as favourites with a solid defence who were excellent in the win over Newtown, particularly Robert Downey, Dave Dooling and Stephen McDonnell.

The Carrig attack flourished with some cracking goals against Ballyhea, especially young James Mulcahy who bagged a hat-trick when introduced, Padraig Hogan, Liam Gosnell, Shane Devlin, Tomas Hogan, and Aaron Walsh-Barry will need to be at their best if they are to repeat that effort.

Dean Brosnan, Patrick Horgan and Conor Dorris carry a huge threat for the Blackpool side in attack and they look to have enough firepower to send them into another final, but only if there is a huge improvement on recent outings.

 

Imokilly vs St Finbarr's

The popular opinion since the commencement of the championship is that the East Cork side would complete the three-in-a-row, and their displays in their wins to date have done little to dispel that view.

St Finbarr’s, a bit like Glen Rovers, haven’t exactly set the world on fire, but they are in the last four and the longer a ‘Barrs team stay in any championship, the harder they are to beat, tradition counts for something.

Being a dual club brings its own difficulties and the fact that the ‘Barrs footballers were in action last weekend, and lost, will slightly hinder their preparations, and it’s a job for manager Ronan Curran and his selectors to lift the spirits of the dual players.

Damien Cahalane was excellent in the win over Bishopstown, but Glenn O’Connor and Eoghan Finn are huge losses and it will mean others will have to step up to the plate and they have the players to do just that -Billy Hennessey, Eoin Keane, and Shane Hurley among them.

The depth of Imokilly though is a huge factor in their success, Bill Cooper, Declan Dalton, Paudie O’Sullivan, Mark O’Keeffe and Brian Lawton to mention just a few.

It’s hard to look beyond Imokilly and the ‘Barrs will have to produce their best display if they are to end their reign.

 

Intermediate Championship

In football, Knocknagree take on Aghabullogue on Saturday in Banteer, and with a host of quality players at their disposal among them John Fintan Daly, Matthew Dilworth, Anthony O’Connor and Cork senior Eoghan McSweeney, the Duhallow side look well equipped to reach the semi-final.

The replay of the all-Duhallow clash of Dromtarriffe and Ballydesmond goes ahead on Sunday and if it’s as exciting as the drawn encounter, few will complain. Donnacha O’Connor rescued Ballydesmond in that game and he may be needed again to keep his side in the championship, otherwise Dromtarriffe might shade this one.

Éire Óg, following their football exploits last weekend, switch to hurling and a quarter-final clash with Blackrock who, for the second year in a row, are enjoying an extended run in this championsship, runners-up last year. Plenty of dual players on both teams but if Éire Óg can quickly re-focus they should prevail.

 

Junior Championship

Plenty of games in both hurling and football which are generally well contested, especially at the business end of very competitive championsships.

In football, Erin’s Own are always capable of putting a good run together and they face a tough test against Ballinascarthy with the odds favouring the West Cork side.

The West Cork champions St James were easy winners over Cobh last time out but will get a much sterner test against Boherbue and one they might not pass.

The hurling action sees Carrignavar facing Courcey Rovers and with it being Courcey’s second team, the East Cork side should advance.

City champions Brian Dillons should get the better of Newmarket, while last year’s runners-up Russell Rovers renew rivalry with Kilbree and will be favoured to repeat last year's victory.

 

Camogie and Ladies Football

CIT grounds will host two huge games over the space of 24 hours. First up on Friday night at 7.30pm, it’s the replay of the SE Systems Senior Camogie championship semi-final of Killeagh vs Inniscarra.

Killeagh looked to have the first game won but a late free forced the replay and Inniscarra, the champions and going for four-in-a-row, might not let this opportunity slip second time round.

On Saturday at 5pm, it’s the county senior championship final in ladies football with holders Mourneabbey going for a sixth successive title facing West Cork.

A host of quality players on both teams, and while the holders are assured of advancing to the Munster club championship irrespective of the result, they will want to do so as champions and might just achieve that.

The Premier 1 and 2 minor hurling finals go ahead on Monday in Páirc Uí Rinn and should produce two lively encounters.

Killtha Óg and Blackrock open proceedings at 6.30pm and the Rockies will hope to avoid a second defeat in the final of this grade having lost to Inniscarra two years ago.

 

Minors

The Premier 1 decider is a repeat of the final of 2018 in which Glen Rovers came out on top against Midleton. In fact, they also met in this year’s championship, and once again, Glen emerged as winners.

There are good players on both sides and they impressed in their respective semi-finals.

Luke Horgan, Gavin Marshall, Ryan Long and Nathan Goulding will be key for Glen as they were against the ‘Barrs, while for Midleton the trio of Aaron Mulcahy, Jack Fitzgerald and Paul Connaughton scored 1-12 of their 2-18 semi-final win over Ballincollig.

8.15pm start for this game, and the Glen to shade it.

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