PIHC hurling: John Horgan previews this weekend's games in Cork

PIHC hurling: John Horgan previews this weekend's games in Cork
Sean O'Donoghue, Inniscarra, takes on Joe Jordan, Blarney. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THE Cork County Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship moves forward with the second round of group games. This will go a long way to determining who will make the knockout stages.

For the first-round winners, there is leeway, but, conversely, for those teams who failed at the first hurdle, this is a make-or-break round.

TOMORROW

PIHC: Carrigaline v Aghada, Cobh, 5pm

Both sides had splendid victories in their opening assignments, Aghada powering past Youghal and Carrigaline defeating Courcey Rovers.

As a result, a win for either here will ensure their presence in the knockout stages.

Youghal's Nigel Roche feels the challenge from Aghada's Aaron Berry. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Youghal's Nigel Roche feels the challenge from Aghada's Aaron Berry. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Aghada will look to Will Leahy (who scored 12 points the last day), Cian Fleming, Aaron Stafford, and Michael Russell.

Brian Kelleher, David Drake, Wes O’Brien, Rob O’Shea, and David Griffin will be key for Carrigaline and they might just do enough.

Verdict: Carrigaline.

PIHC: Valley Rovers v Ballincollig, Cloughduv, 5pm

A big game for these two after opening-day losses.

Valley Rovers lost by a few points to Ballinhassig, while Ballincollig lost to Watergrasshill. The Mid-Cork side had Cian Dorgan in good form, while Dave Bowen, Liam Jennings, Robbie Bourke, and JP Murphy are vital to their cause as well.

Valleys will look to Chris O’Leary, John Cottrell, Noel O’Donovan, and Colm Butler.

Likely to be close, with Valleys maybe getting over the line.

Verdict: Valley Rovers.

PIHC: Blarney v Castlelyons, Carrigtwohill, 6pm

Two teams coming together here after superb opening-day victories. Blarney gave Inniscarra a right trimming, while Castlelyons proved too good for the Rockies.

Jack and Colm Barry, Colm, Anthony, and Michael Spillane, and Eoin Maye are the big hitters for the east Cork side, while Blarney have the hugely promising Shane Barrett in great form.

Joe Jordan, Mark Coleman, and Padraigh Power are key figures and this could well be the game of the second round.

Blarney are now the fancy of quite a few pundits to make a big impression in this grade, but they’ll earn anything they get here. They might just nick it.

Verdict: Blarney.

PIHC: Courcey Rovers v Youghal,
Caherlag, 6.30pm

Both were first-day losers, so the pressure is increased considerably now. Another loss and the game is up. Youghal lost to Aghada, while Courcey Rovers lost to Carrigaline.

Stephen Nyhan, Ronan Nyhan, Martin Collins, and Ritchie Sweetnan should all be on the starting grid for the Ballinspittle side, who will start as slight favourites.

Bill Cooper will again be expected to lead Youghal’s effort, while Nigel Roche, Brett Moloney, and Ollie Dempsey are important players in their ranks, too.

There’s an awful lot at stake here for both and the nod goes to Courcey Rovers.

David Duggan battles Denis McBarron. Picture: Denis Boyle
David Duggan battles Denis McBarron. Picture: Denis Boyle

Verdict: Courcey Rovers.

SUNDAY
PIHC: Inniscarra v Blackrock, Ballinora, 2pm

Two more first-round losers here and it must be all hands on deck for both now. Inniscarra were heavily beaten by Blarney and will have to be a lot better here.

John O’Callaghan, Sean O’Donoghue, Stephen O’Donoghue, and Con O’Leary are their key men for them, while the Rockies must get the best out of Eoin Smith, Eoin O’Farrell, Liam O’Sullivan, and Olan Kelleher.

No room for error now.

Maybe Blackrock.

Verdict: Blackrock.

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