John Horgan previews the Cork Premier Intermediate Hurling semi-finals

John Horgan previews the Cork Premier Intermediate Hurling semi-finals

Carrigaline forward Brian Kelleher being put under pressure by Brian Collins, Courcey Rovers. Carrigaline won the PIHC group game but both teams made the last four. Picture Denis Boyle

IT’S down to the last four in the Cork County PIHC and by around nine o’clock on Saturday night we will know the final contestants. Trying to unravel the two semi-finals is no easy task.

SATURDAY

PIHC semi-final, Castlelyons v Courcey Rovers, Páirc Uí Rinn, 3.30pm.

Both clubs have contested finals in the not too distant past and would love to get to another one. Courcey Rovers might be a surprise packet because after losing their two opening games at the group stage, the odds were stacked against them.

But they got the win in their final game and with other results going their way they are now where they set out to be. They had a terrific victory last weekend against a previously unbeaten Watergrasshill and they certainly have momentum now.

Castlelyons will be slight favourites but in games like this that tag means very little.

Courceys will look again to Ronan Nyhan, Jerry O’Neill, Tadgh O’Sullivan, Sean Twomey if he’s fit, Richard Sweetnam, and goalie Stephen Nyhan.

They are what you’d describe as a reinvented side and won’t be easily beaten now.

Castlelyons will look once more to Jack and Colm Barry, the Spillanes, and Eoin Mawe and they have been very impressive thus far.

This could be a cracker and maybe Courceys’ name is on it.

However, we give the slightest of votes to Castlelyons.

Verdict: Castlelyons

PIHC semi-final, Carrigaline v Blarney, Páirc Uí Rinn, 7pm.

Blarney staged a remarkable comeback against Ballincollig last weekend and will be on a high going in here.

They exhibited fierce character to get the win after trailing by nine points, seven points, and four points at various stages.

They have quality players all through the pitch, the great servant Joe Jordan being one. Add in young guns Shane Barrett, Padraig Power, Cork star Mark Coleman, and Declan Hanlon.

Carrigaline, on the other hand, have really got it together this season and are playing with a new-found spirit and determination.

Brian Kelleher has been putting up the scores for them while Rob O’Shea, Wes O’Brien, Kevin Kavanagh, and David Drake are very experienced operators.

Blarney might have a slight advantage in so far as they have played more recently and have the bounce from that win over Ballincollig.

But, in truth, there is really hardly anything dividing these sides and they both have earned the right at this semi-final tilt.

We are not taking the easy way out here but this is just too difficult to call. There won’t be a replay, of course, but this one might require extra-time to settle the issue.

Maybe, and it’s a very tentative maybe, Blarney.

Verdict: Blarney

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