SARSFIELDS Daniel Hogan will have the honour of leading the Cork minor team out as they get their championship campaign underway against Tipperary on Sunday.
The east Cork player was in sensational form despite their loss to Midleton in the Cork minor championship and manager, John Considine, will be hoping the carries that form into Sunday.
In that game they hit 2-12, a tally that would many a game, and Hogan was responsible for 1-6 of that and no doubt Considine will be well pleased if he hits the same this weekend.
Playing alongside him that day was Colm McCarthy and he was also in good form as he scored 1-2, both showing why they have been selected in the Cork attack on Sunday.
One of the players they faced that night was Brian Saunderson and no doubt the Midleton keeper gave them a bit of a slagging as his side got the better of their near-neighbours by 3-16 to 2-12.
But despite letting in two goals that night, he is considered one of the best young keepers to emerge from the underage structure in recent years and you can be sure it will have to be a quality shot to get past him.
His accuracy from puck outs is also a huge part of his game and have no doubt he will be responsible for setting up plenty of Cork attacks come Sunday.
In front of Saunderson and anchoring the defence is Blackrock’s Cian McCarthy at full-back. This was a position that Cork tried a few players out last year in the Munster campaign and they will be hoping that McCarthy will lead the line this season.
To add slightly to the confusion and to ensure fans don’t get mixed up, there is another Cian McCarthy, from Oliver Plunkett's. Whilst they may not be as well-known as the Rockies in hurling terms, he is considered a prospect and shows that given the right opportunity players from smaller clubs can come through.
Along with the second McCarthy and Hogan there were five other players due to start that were part of the set-up last year.
They are Ciaran O’Brien, Ethan Twomey, Luke Horgan, Darragh Flynn and Jack Cahalane.
Considine said they are looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead but is also conscious of the challenges they face.
“A good start is vital and we have to win at least one of our first two games before we have a break for a week or two then,” said John. “Obviously of the two you are hoping that home advantage will help us to get over the line. So we are looking to come out on top against Tipp on Sunday, but that’s easier said than done.
“To be honest we don’t know a huge amount about them, but you can bet they will be a good side and won’t be making it easy for us. We had a tremendous battle with them last year and I expect it will be the same this time out.
“But you have to remember, with the change to U17 for the minor grade, that these are still very young players and you don’t know what way they will react on the day.
“When the stadium starts to fill up it creates a great atmosphere and you will be hoping the home crowd can lift them and help us to come out on top. It will probably be the biggest crowd they will ever have played in front of, so you are looking to see how players react.
"It’s also a great help that the game is at 2pm and not at noon as it has been sometimes. This helps you to stick with a normal routine, i.e your’re not getting them up very early in the morning.
“We will be hoping the players from last year will bring that little bit of experience they have to the squad and help the others in this regard and also on the pitch.
“They are a great bunch of lads and I will be looking for a bit of the spirit we showed in our final game last year against Waterford. We knew we had to win by 13 points to have any chance of qualifying for the final.
“The lads battled all through to make sure we did, even when Waterford scored late they kept going and a late goal from Shane Barrett ensured we did.
“Unfortunately the result didn’t go in our favour in the other tie and we were out, but I couldn’t have been prouder of the way our fellas played and the commitment from them.
“I will be looking for more of the same on Sunday and, as I said, it is vital we win at least one of our first two games, but naturally we are hoping to win both,” concluded John.