Three talking points as Glen, Erin's Own, Blackrock and UCC battle for silverware

Three talking points as Glen, Erin's Own, Blackrock and UCC battle for silverware

UCC's Paddy O'Loughlin is tackled by Na Piarsaigh's Christopher Joyce during the Co-Op Superstores Premier SHC quarter-final at Pairc Ui Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE Premier SHC semi-finals are set: Glen Rovers against Erin's Own; Blackrock versus UCC. Here we look at three talking points from the weekend action, where Erin's Own knocked out Sars and UCC were too strong for Na Piarsaigh.

ARE THE ROCKIES READY TO FINALLY DELIVER?

Having dominated underage hurling in Cork, hoovering up P1 minor and U21 titles, it was expected that consistent success would translate to senior silverware too. Yet the closest the Rockies came to regaining the Seán Óg Murphy cannister was in 2017 when they rattled Imokilly in the county final.

Their production line of hurlers was certainly a factor in their victory over Douglas in a cracking quarter-final last weekend. Tadhg Deasy, in particular, was a powerful sub to deploy.

They'd a fine spread of scorers up front, though Cork senior panellist Michael O'Halloran was the marquee man. They had the luxury of not starting O'Halloran in their last group game against Bishopstown, though he hit the net off the bench.

He stepped back into the line-up here to the tune of 0-7 from play. Alan Conolly got the goal on this occasion, where Shane O'Keffee's ball-winning once again stood out.

 Alan Connolly, Blackrock, battling Stephen Moylan, Douglas. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Alan Connolly, Blackrock, battling Stephen Moylan, Douglas. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

With Fergal Ryan and John Browne involved, Blackrock certainly have steel and experience in the set-up, but a clutch of their players have dual commitments with St Michael's, who meet Éire Óg in a quarter-final this weekend.

UCC will be another serious hurdle for them in the semi-final in two weeks.

ERIN'S OWN CONTINUE TO DEFY THE ODDS:

James O'Flynn's diving hook on Liam Healy to deny a goal chance at the death, followed by a hurley switch to force a sideline, was the box-office sequence in Erin's Own's upset win over Sars.

Twice in the group stages, Erin's Own were dead and buried but recovered to beat Bishopstown and then draw with Newtown. On Saturday, they took the game to their rivals, a reversal of their previous displays.

Erin's Owns' Mossie O'Carroll breaks from Sars'  Daniel Kearney and Liam Healy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Erin's Owns' Mossie O'Carroll breaks from Sars'  Daniel Kearney and Liam Healy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The mantle of underdogs might suit them but many expected the wide-open space at Páirc Uí Chaoimh wouldn't. Animal work-rate and a neat haul of 0-3 from Robbie O'Flynn married to Eoghan Murphy's trademark stack of frees, saw the Caherlag neuter Sars' vaunted attack.

Next up they meet the Glen. They won't be given a chance again. They won't care.

THIS IS A GOLDEN ERA FOR UCC:

The College haven't been in a county final since 1999, when Joe Deane led the line, or won it since 1970, when Ray Cummins was full-forward, at a time when a county board rule decreed that even senior club players lined out for UCC.

Indeed Dr Paddy Crowley, current College selector, was also in action when they beat Muskerry back in the '70 decider.

They're more than capable of getting the better of the Rockies in the semi-final and having retained the Fitzgibbon Cup earlier this year, and reaching a county semi-final and quarter-final in recent years, UCC are going extremely well overall.

Of course, you can argue against the merits of allowing star hurlers from other counties into a Cork competition. Limerick's Paddy O'Loughlin, Tipp duo Paddy Cadell and Mark Kehoe and the Kerry wizard Shane Conway are high-profile members of Tom Kenny's squad.

Na Piarsaigh's Shane Forde bursting past UCC's Paddy Cadell to score a goal. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Na Piarsaigh's Shane Forde bursting past UCC's Paddy Cadell to score a goal. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The College is primarily a vehicle for Leesiders like Mark Coleman, most notably, his Blarney comrades Shane Barrett and Pádraig Power, Éire Óg's Dylan Desmond, the goalie and captain, Clon's David Lowney and Carrigaline's David Griffin and Brian Kelleher to shine.

The depth to UCC's panel meant Na Piarsaigh couldn't cope at the weekend, even after pilfering three goals. They're on a roll now, having also knocked out Duhallow and four-in-a-row chasing Imokilly.

Blackrock will need to be at their best to stop them.

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