SATURDAY: Dr Harty Cup semi-final: Midleton CBS v Christians, Páirc Uí Rinn, 1pm.
THIS time it’s a last four meeting after their final showdown last season which went the way of the East Cork school.
Midleton CBS have nearly half that starting team lining out again while CBC would have around the four mark.
Based on that and given their tradition and history in the competition, Midleton CBS are probably going in as slight favourites.
CBC have made unbelievable strides in the past few seasons and surely the time to inscribe their name on the old trophy is not that far off.
They exhibited their mettle and strong character with a one-point victory over cup specialists St Colman’s in the quarter-final, 1-13 to 1-12 with Jack Cahalane posting a considerable haul of points that day in Watergrasshill.
They had earlier opened their campaign with a comprehensive win over Rochestown College and had a draw with Ard Scoil Ris along the way.
They will be without Denis McSweeney tomorrow because of a hand injury and his loss at midfield may well be felt.
There is, however, a strong balance to the side with Shane Kingston at full-back, Carthach Daly from Lismore at centre-back, Niall Hartnett at centre-forward and Jack Cahalane donning the number 14 shirt.
Robbie Cotter and Daire Burke areat right and left full-forward respectively in a side that will have taken a lot of confidence from the victory over St Colman’s.
Getting out on the right side of a tight game like that against a fine St Colman’s unit has to bolster a team and this bunch of players have trained well since the quarter-final.
Midleton CBS have that extra few players from last season’s winning team and now being a year older and a year wiser too they will not be short on confidence and will believe that they can again have a major say in the destination of the trophy.
They had a fine win over De La Salle from Waterford in the quarter-final, one of last season's team, Ryan McCarthy scoring a wonder point that day, whipping the ball over the bar after he had not connected properly from a free.
Last season’s goalkeeper Jack McGann is now out the field and a key player with Brian Saunderson in goal.
Ciaran Joyce has huge potential and is likely to be at centre-back with Richie Landers also one to watch out for after the success of last season.
Ryan McCarthy, it goes without saying, is an obvious danger man and his expertise from the placed ball marks him out as one of the most important members of the team.
Cathal Hickey, in Harty cup terms, is another big player on the team although Iassc Walsh and Sam Quirke are doubts through injury The only guarantee tomorrow is that there will be one Cork team in the final and that’s a positive in itself.
It would not be a huge surprise if CBC came through given the talent that’s in the team and the work that is going on in the school.
However, the tendency is to go with Midleton CBS again because they have the greater number of players from last season’s final.
In the other semi-final, St Flannan’s are back in a challenging position again after a few lean years when, in fact, they were sometimes stronger with the bigger ball.
They take on Our Lady’s Templemore in a game rich in potential too.
Flannan’s were too strong for St Joseph’s Tulla in the quarter-final and have two hugely promising forwards in their ranks, Diarmuid Cahill, who scored 2-4 that day and Conner Hegarty who posted 1-3.
There is a great desire in the school to end a 15-year famine but Templemore showed their credentials in ousting Thurles CBS.
This one could go right down to the wire too.
Prediction: Midleton CBS and St Flannan’s to win.