REVITALISED Mitchelstown face the toughest test of their season when they engage Aghabullogue in the Bon Secours IFC semi-final at Mallow.
It’s the second time in two seasons that the clubs meet, but this time the stakes are much higher as a place in the county final against Glanworth or Rockchapel awaits.
Their attacking talisman is Cork senior panelist Cathail O’Mahony, who has registered 3-23 so far, while Sean O’Sullivan has three goals and James Sheehan's tallied 0-9.
Central to Mitchelstown’s excellent progress this season has been the performance of Tipperary senior hurling panelist Colin English who has donned the red and black this year.
English, who captained his home county to defeat Cork in the 2018 All-Ireland U21 Hurling final, joined from Fr Sheehy’s in South Tipperary and has been a midfield powerhouse during the course of a campaign that has seen his side record an average winning margin of 11 points per game.
Since that 2-8 to 1-8 reversal against Aghabollogue in round two of last year’s championship, Mitchelstown have survived a relegation threat to bounce back with four eye-catching displays.
Wins over Glanworth, Adrigole and Mayfield left them as table toppers before a highly impressive 3-20 to 2-10 result was posted against Kinsale in the quarter-final at Carrigtwohill.
At the helm for the Avondhu side this season is former Clonakilty senior player Martin O’Brien, who is certainly getting the very best out of what is a talented group of players.
“We are delighted to be in the last four of the championship, but realise that work still has to be done. The opening half of our last game against Kinsale was superb, but on the downside, conceding 2-10 was a concern.
“We coughed up some scores that we are disappointed about. We pride ourselves on keeping it very tight in defence. At times I just did not think we were aggressive enough on the press.”
Martin also acknowledged the impact that the aforementioned new recruit Colin English has made.
“The distance he covers, the effort he makes, his commitment on the ball are all attributes you want in a player. Colin came to the club a few months after I joined.
“There was great work done in the background to get him. He went to second-level school in Mitchelstown, so obviously knew a lot of the guys already.
“Colin and Sean Walshe know one another very well and have a great understanding at midfield. When you are playing any game, to me it’s all about building these relationships.”
Mitchelstown certainly seem to have the chemistry right at the moment with several players playing at the top of their game.