Cork minor hurling management reveal the team to face Clare in Munster opener

Cork minor hurling management reveal the team to face Clare in Munster opener

Midleton CBS' Alex Quirke is challenged by  An Gaelcoláiste Mhuire An Mhainistir Thuaidh's Cian Connery. Quirke is the Cork minor vice-captain this season. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE Cork minor hurlers are in action today at 1pm in Semple Stadium against Clare.

The stakes are high in this Munster quarter-final, the winner progressing to meet Limerick with the loser eliminated. There’s no shortage of talent in the panel and with Donal Óg Cusack at the helm, there’s added interest in the grade this season.

The Rebel management, which includes former players Tom Kenny, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and Kieran 'Fraggie' Murphy, have unveiled a strong panel for the clash with the Banner.

Brion Saunderson, Shane Kingston, Eoin Downey and Colin Walsh all featured in the 2019 team, while Ben Cunningham, the son of Cork selector Ger, was the form forward in the Premier 1 club championship recently, which the St Finbarr's won.

Downey, the younger brother of Cork defender Robert, captains the side from wing-back, with the Barrs' Ben O'Connor wearing the number six geansaí. Douglas' Mark Howell who starts in the forwards is likely to drop deep as Cusack's charges look to create space in attack for their pacey danger-men.

There are three Ballincollig hurlers in the line-up, James Dwyer, Tadhg O'Connell and Brian Keating, and three from Midleton, Saunderson, vice-captain Alex Quirke, and full-back Ciarmhac Smyth, along with two from the Barrs and two from the Glen.

Sars' reached the P1 final this season but as that grade is U18, while inter-county has reverted to U17, Ben Nodwell is the only member of their team to be included, on the bench.

The subs offer quality options, including Tommy Walsh, the younger brother of Cork senior Aidan, Jack Leahy from Kiltha Óg, Douglas' Dáire Burke and Barrs' forward William Buckley.

The Cork U20 hurlers are down to play in the Munster opener away to Kerry on Monday night, with the winner there also moving into a last-four tie against Limerick.

CORK (v Clare): B Saunderson (Midleton); S Kingston (Ballinora), C Smyth (Midleton), K Lyon (Ballygarvan); E Downey (Glen Rovers, c), B O’Connor (St Finbarr's), M Mullins (Whitechurch); B Keating (Ballincollig), J Dwyer (Ballincollig); A Quirke (Midleton), C Walsh (Kanturk), T O’Connell (Ballincollig); B Cunningham (St Finbarr's), M Howell (Douglas), E O’Leary (Glen Rovers).

Subs: E O’Neill (Blarney), B Nodwell (Sarsfields), D Burke (Douglas), D O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig), D Healy (Lisgoold), J Leahy (Kiltha Óg), S O’Riordan (Youghal), T Walsh (Kanturk), W Buckley (St Finbarr's).

Here are five hurlers to watch, via streaming on the Munster Council website, this weekend. 

BEN CUNNINGHAM (St Finbarr's): Ultra-consistent from frees and play as the Barrs landed their first minor county in 23 years, the half-forward is a superb striker off both sides and also a serious athlete. The son of Cork senior selector Ger, Cunningham managed a staggering 0-7 from play in the decider against Sars last month, to go with five frees.

Ben Cunningham, the Barrs top-scorer this season. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Ben Cunningham, the Barrs top-scorer this season. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Watch out too for his club-mates William Buckley and Ben O'Connor, both U16.

ALEX QUIRKE (Midleton): Younger brother of former Cork minor Sam, Alex is a dynamic midfielder, full of energy but also composed in possession. Hurled with Midleton CBS in the Harty Cup at wing-back and Rebel vice-captain this Saturday.

Another Magpie Brion Saunderson is in between the posts, having started at number one as well in 2019.

EOIN DOWNEY (Glen Rovers): Like his sibling Robert, Eoin is a towering presence in the rearguard with plenty of hurling to go with it. Played corner-back in the Harty final earlier this year for Christians.

Eoin Downey has been hurling up a storm for CBS since Sciath na Scol. Picture: Denis Scannell
Eoin Downey has been hurling up a storm for CBS since Sciath na Scol. Picture: Denis Scannell

Eoin O'Leary, still U16, is another quality Glen young gun in the squad.

COLIN WALSH (Kanturk): Duhallow continues to produce a supply of hurlers for Cork, with Dromtarriffe's Conor O'Callaghan the U20 captain this season. Colin Walsh is a tall and strong inside forward, with an eye for goals. He spearheaded Kanturk's drive to the Premier 2 minor final, where they lost to a Donal Óg Cusack-coached St Colman's.

Colin Walsh of Cork in action against Limerick last year. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Colin Walsh of Cork in action against Limerick last year. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Kanturk native, Tommy Walsh, the younger brother of Aidan, will feature too, in the backs.

SHANE KINGSTON (Ballinora): A minor last year and a fine footballer to boot, Ballinora's Shane Kingston was involved as well in 2019. There's a strong underage in the Mid Cork club and his progress reflects that.

Shane Kingston wins the ball in last year's minor championship. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Shane Kingston wins the ball in last year's minor championship. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

A terrific athlete, his tenacity in defence helped CBC to last season's Harty Cup decider.

The 30-player panel is below, with the 15 starters and nine subs to be revealed at 12pm on Friday.

Adam Walsh

Bride Rovers

Alex Quirke

Midleton (v-c)

Ben Cunningham

St Finbarr's

Ben Nodwell

Sarsfields

Ben O’Connor

St Finbarr's

Brian Keating

Ballincollig

Brion Saunderson

Midleton

Ciarmhac Smyth

Midleton

Colin Walsh

Kanturk

Culann Geary

Youghal

Daire Burke

Douglas

Darragh O’Sullivan

Ballinhassig

David Joseph

Carrigtwohill

David O’Sullivan

Ballincollig

Diarmuid Healy

Lisgoold

Eoin Downey

Glen Rovers (c)

Eoin O’Leary

Glen Rovers

Eoin O’Neill

Blarney

Izaak Walsh

Lisgoold

Jack Leahy

Kiltha Óg

James Dwyer

Ballincollig

Kevin Lyons

Ballygarvan

Mark Howell

Douglas

Micheál Mullins

Whitechurch

Sean Killeen

Granard Gaels

Sean O’Riordan

Youghal

Shane Kingston

Ballinora

Tadhg O’Connell

Ballincollig

Tommy Walsh

Kanturk

William Buckley

St Finbarr's

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