A Harty Cup final spot in within Christians' reach as they face into tricky rematch

A Harty Cup final spot in within Christians' reach as they face into tricky rematch
CBC’s Niall Hartnett breaks past Thurles CBS’s Frank Hanafin. Picture: John D Kelly

SATURDAY: Dr Harty Cup semi-final: Thurles, CBS v CBC, Kilfinane, 1.30pm.

BOTH Harty Cup semi-finals tomorrow are a repeat of games that were played earlier in the season in the group stages.

Where CBC is concerned against Thurles CBS, they would gladly settle for what transpired the last day, a comprehensive victory over the Tipperary school on a scoreline of 4-19 to 2-13.

That was a hugely significant win for the Cork school, defeating one of the competition ’s more traditional sides and it was further evidence of the growth of the gamer in the school.

CBC subsequently saw off Nenagh CBS in the quarter-final, requiring a last-gasp goal to do so when it appeared that they were just going to be edged out in a dramatic finale to the game.

That result further bolstered the belief that all the good work being put into the game in the school over the past number of years was now yielding the desired dividend.

They are back now where they were last season, in the last four and hoping to travel the extra mile this time.

This is a fine, well balanced CBC outfit who seem to be growing in confidence with the passage of the competition.

Team coach Donal O’Mahony is eagerly looking forward to tomorrow’s showdown in Mallow but believes that the first meeting earlier in the competition will be of no relevance now.

“When you meet a side that you have already beaten in a competition you must be very wary and instil into the players the message that what happened the first day won’t, in all probability, happen the next day.

“We were delighted with the result against Thurles the last day but we are under no illusions this time and they are sure to have learned a lot from the first game and they will have their homework done on us.

“When you are coming up against any team from Tipperary a second time in the one season having beaten them earlier you must be very wary.

“We saw that in the U21 championship last year, Cork easily beating Tipp in Munster but then losing to them in the All-Ireland final later on.

“That was a case of something coming back to bite you.’’ 

O’Mahony, a Cork senior selector in John Meyler’s team, is delighted with how the campaign has gone and delighted too with the progress being made in the school.

“Firstly, it’s great for Cork hurling that our teams are very competitive again in the Harty. That is good for the game overall, getting teams into the semi-finals and final and it’s about getting over the line now.’’ 

Christians have no major injury worries for tomorrow’s big game and will be looking again to the players who have been growing in confidence with every game.

The side has very good hurlers in all sectors and from goalkeeper Cian Long out the balance is strong. Conor Murphy, Padraig Murphy, Shane Barrett, Owen McCarthy, Niall Hartnett and Declan Hannon will be looked to here again to lead by example and set the stall out from the outset.

CBC’s Declan Hanlon getting to the ball ahead of CBS’s Conor Hennessy. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22
CBC’s Declan Hanlon getting to the ball ahead of CBS’s Conor Hennessy. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22

They really had to dig deep against Nenagh CBS the last day and they will be aware that in a knockout game no Tipp team is easily got past. Thurles CBS were involved in an extraordinary game against John the Baptist Hospital a few weeks back and it was afterwards described as a great advertisement for Harty Cup hurling.

The sides could not be divided that day and after extra-time the final scoreline read, Thurles CBS 3-31, John the Baptist 4-28.

That was a game containing 66 scores and still no resolution at the end of it. In the replay last weekend Thurles CBS got the job done with a much lower scoreline of 0-16 to 0-11 and CBC will have got another opportunity that day to study them from outside the wire.

Their side contains good, strong operators too with Paddy Creedon crashing home 3-0 in the first instalment against Hospital. Dylan O’Shea is a dead ball expert while the likes of Devon Ryan, Eoin Morris and Luke Cashin must be monitored closely too.

Christian will be very wary going in here against a side that has bounced back in admirable fashion since they met back in November.

How often in the past in all codes have we seen a result from the first day reversed the next time the sides clash? 

However, this Christians team is well coached and well structured and their confidence will be high too. It will be a huge achievement for them to get into a Harty Cup final and there’s no reason why they can’t.

There were 12 points between the sides on the last occasion, there won’t be this time.

Verdict: CBC.

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