East Cork clubs to the fore in the final four of the IHC

East Cork clubs to the fore in the final four of the IHC

Russell Rovers goalkeeper Ross Walsh is fouled by Milford's Sean O'Connell during the Co-Op Superstores Cork Lower IHC at Fermoy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE Cork County Lower Intermediate Hurling championship finalists will be decided tomorrow and Sunday afternoon when Castlemartyr take on Kilbrittain and St Catherine’s square up to Russell Rovers in a potentially intriguing East Cork derby.

SATURDAY: 

Lower IHC semi-final: St Catherine’s v Russell Rovers, Killeagh, 2pm:

Russell Rovers, last season’s junior winners, have not been found wanting since their elevation to the higher grade.

Any side containing forwards of the calibre of Josh Beausang and Bud Hartnett have a head start on most teams.

Kevin Moynihan is another fine hurler and coach Noel Furlong has them in a confident frame of mind.

St Catherine’s, however, have been fancied from the outset and in Dan Mangan and Brian Mulcahy, they have two county senior medal winners with Imokilly.

Eoin Davis is a fine ‘keeper while Rory Galvin and Ciaran O’Brien are good players too.

Being an East Cork derby adds further to the potential of this game and we all know in these types of situations there are no outstanding favourites.

Containing Beausang and Hartnett will be prioritised by Catherine’s while on the other side it will be a similar situation with Mangan and Mulcahy.

The Killeagh venue could well be hosting a cracking game here with the slightest of votes going to St Catherine’s.

  • Verdict: St Catherine’s.

SUNDAY:

Lower IHC semi-final: Castlemartyr v Kilbrittain, Páirc Uí Rinn, 4pm:

THE stakes are high here, a place in the final awaiting. These two met a few years ago with Kilbrittain proving that bit stronger.

Castlemartyr, however, had a fine innings at the group stage, winning all three games and they won’t be short on confidence.

Joe Stack, a Cork U17 All-Ireland winner, is absent through injury and he’s a serious loss. But they’ll get on with it and there is a very well-balancedside.

Darragh Moran is a strong and assertive defender while Ciaran Joyce is one of the best, young hurlers in the county.

The Lawton brothers, Brian and Barry, Barra O’Tuama and Adrian Bows provide the experience while James Lawton and Peter Fleming are good, young players who learned their trade with Kiltha Óg.

They saw off St Finbarr’s, Milford, and Ballymartle to reach this stage and have been very impressive at times. Kilbrittain are renowned battlers, never beaten until the last whistle and in their group they drew with Barryroe and Russell Rovers before defeating Tracton quite comfortably.

The extra game might benefit them and in players like James Hurley, Philip Wall, Ross Cashman and Maurice Sexton, there is a solid platform.

No quarter will be asked or given here with a slight nod going to the East Cork team.

  • Verdict: Castlemartyr.

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