SATURDAY SHC quarter-final: Glen Rovers v Newtownshandrum, Páirc Uí Rinn, 5pm.
IN the aftermath of Newtown’s first-round loss to Bishopstown the perception might have been that their season would fizzle out as it has done in more recent times.
There would not have been a great deal of confidence accompanying them into round two against a gritty team like Newcestown but a six-goal blast ensured that the former champions had been reinvented and extended their season.
But coming up next were the Rockies and the expectation was that the city team would prevail.
But again the North Cork side raised the level of their game and put the Rockies out of action until next season.
Those two commanding victories have put a different complexion on peoples’ perceptions of Newtown and they come in here now, underdogs again against the Glen, but relishing the challenge that awaits them and not short of confidence.
The Glen, on the other hand, secured a fine victory over Midleton in their opener and subsequently were put to the pin of their collar before getting past Charleville by a nose down in Mallow.
That game went to extra-time and it could, just as easily, have gone Charleville’s way.
But the Glen dug it out, they exhibited character and resilience in doing so and it was the type of game that may very well stand to them going forward now.
The old Glen spirit was certainly required in those final, frenetic minutes that night in Mallow.
This has the makings of a damn, good game of hurling with plenty of drive and steel required.
Newtown have a solid backbone to the side despite losing so many players for various reasons.
Jamie Coughlan has been outstanding for them, showing why he remains one of the best club forwards in the county.
In fact, how he performs for Newtown and Patrick Horgan for the Glen could go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.
But, of course, it won’t be that simple and there are so many others on both teams that will be crucial to the outcome.
Tim O’Mahony will obviously be a key figure for Newtown at full-forward or in that region while Conor Twomey, at centre-back, is another solid operator.
James Bowles is now between the sticks and doing well there while John Geary can cause problems too.
So much rests on Horgan’s shoulders for the Glen as it always does and curbing him will be prioritised by Newtown.
He was well policed from open play against Charleville but was still a big figure in the game.
There’s a wealth of experience in this team, from outstanding goalkeeper Cathal Hickey out. Rob Downey and Brian Moylan, Stephen McDonnel, Dean Brosnan, Conor Dorris and Simon Kennefick give the side a good blend too.
Many see this Glen team as the biggest threat to Imokilly but that’s not here nor there right now.
Newtown will give this a right rattle and if Coughlan and O’Mahony get the right service they could win it.
But the greater likelihood is that the Glen will have the greater depth and, of course, they have Horgan.
They get the vote.
Verdict: Glen Rovers.