There are a host of other promising Cork hurlers like Eoghan Murphy, Niall O’Leary, David Lowney, Eddie Gunning, David Griffin, keeper Jack Barry, Evan Sheehan, Michael O’Halloran and Robbie O’Flynn, who has been struggling with injury. Quality across every line of the pitch. There’s also Kilkenny midfielder Conor Browne, Limerick wing-back Paddy O’Loughlin, Kerry flier Shane Conway and Tipp’s Mark Kehoe.
Mary I are under the shrewd guidance of Jamie Wall, who was a dual Cork minor and U21 and has deservedly built up a reputation as a coach of note, which is why the Limerick college are chasing a third Fitz in four seasons.
Kanturk’s Darren Brown and Luke Meade are vital cogs for Mary I and up front they’ve Colin O’Brien, who was part of the All-Ireland winning Cork U17 group two years ago.
A native of Liscarroll, O’Brien had an absolute stormer in a hard-fought U17 semi-final against Galway. Not as high-profile as others from that crop, it’ll be interesting to see if he nails down a berth with the Cork U20s this season, though he’ll be eligible again in 2020.
So while Leesiders will understandably be keen to see the College get their hands on the Fitzgibbon Cup for the first time since 2013, there will be a clutch of medals coming back to Rebel county either way.
Kingston is probably a bit underappreciated because he’s not the first option up front in a Cork senior team spearheaded by Pat Horgan, Conor Lehane and Seamus Harnedy and hasn’t been as consistent as his All-Star peers, Coleman and Fitzgibbon. Now coming out of the U21 ranks, the Douglas clubman has the all talent to become a dominant force.
Fitzgibbon’s only outing was as a sub against DCU because he had been injured and on duty for Charleville in the All-Ireland club series and he’ll be eager to avoid another big-game loss after their defeat at Croker two weeks back. Coleman wasn’t prominent in the semi-final but he’ll need to gain a foothold in the middle tomorrow, neutering Meade and cutting off the supply to Gillane.