THE lower Cork County Intermediate Hurling Championship moves into overdrive with two quarter-finals down for decision.
Castlemartyr and St Catherine’s are safely berthed in the semi-finals after winning their three group games. They will be keeping a close eye on the games this weekend involving Tracton and Kilbrittain and Russell Rovers and Milford.
With their initial objective having been achieved, both teams will believe they can extend their season.
There is no margin for error, lose and it’s all over for another year.
Both would be recognised as dogged competitors, not easy to overcome. They have quite a few battle-hardened performers who have given splendid service.
Kilbritain won one and drew two of their three group games, so they should be confident.
They have seasoned performers in Ross Cashman and Maurice Sexton, while James Hurley is in the number three jersey and has settled in well there.
Philip Wall and Tom Harrington are good hurlers too and they are probably favourites.
Tracton will call on one of their best ever players in Sean O’Sullivan, along with Ronan Walsh, Joe Kingston, and Alan Kiely. Paul O'Riordan was a Cork minor last year.
No quarter will be given here, and a tight call goes to Kilbrittain.
- Verdict: Kilbrittain.
Russell Rovers were competing in the East Cork JHC this time last year, but are now just an hour away from a county intermediate final appearance. They deserve great credit for that, and they’ll be up for this one.
Milford are far more seasoned in this grade of hurling and are never easily beaten. Cillian O’Gorman and Anthony Watson are always to the fore for them and that great Cork star of other times, Sean O’Gorman, drives them on from the line.
Josh Beausang is Rovers’ key player, while Bud Hartnett is another huge attacking threat.
Luke Duggan-Murray and Kevin Moynihan are strong performers too in a side that is well-coached by Noel Furlong, one of the best in the business.
A semi-final with St Catherine’s awaits the winners, and we will give the slight nod of approval to the East Cork side to prevail.
- Verdict: Russell Rovers.
Things just didn’t work out for these two at the group stage, and this is now last-chance
saloon as far as preserving their status at this level is concerned.
It’s Ballymartle’s second string, of course, and that’s not easy for them.
They took a bad beating from Castlemartyr in their last group game and must improve a lot here. So too, of course, must Barryroe.