Take your pick from the Barrs, Ross, Duhallow and the Haven for glory as the race for the Andy Scannell Cup is wide open

Take your pick from the Barrs, Ross, Duhallow and the Haven for glory as the race for the Andy Scannell Cup is wide open
Castlehaven's Mark Collins wins the ball from CIT's Stephen Cahill. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

AN all-east Cork senior hurling championship final could be followed by a western equivalent in football.

The semi-finals take place at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday with the meetings of St Finbarr's and Carbery Rangers and Castlehaven and Duhallow with the final at the end of the month.

The shock defeat of the defending champions, Nemo Rangers, by the Haven in the quarter-finals has thrown the succession race wide open with all four believing they've the credentials to lift the Andy Scannell Cup.

The bookies have installed the Haven as the 7/4 favourites on the back of their stunning 1-11 to 0-4 victory over Nemo, who were held scoreless for 43 minutes.

They can't separate the Barrs and Ross, who are both 5/2, a sure reflection of just how tight their game promises to be, while Duhallow are rated the 7/2 outsiders, a position they will relish going into their meeting with the Haven.

You can make a case for all four. Ross won the title for the first time only two years ago and that team has remained intact for the most part.

Under the astute management of Micheal 'Haulie' O'Sullivan, Ross have carefully man-managed a group of players who've been around the block more than once and produced them at the right time so far.

Playing the game at Páirc Uí Chaoimh will test their fitness levels, especially against a Barrs side that has a neat blend of experience and youth and last season played in two finals at the venue.

The Ray Keane managed side have issues, though, most notably in defence, where they lost keeper Declan Murphy to a broken leg in the quarter-final against Douglas and wing-back Alan McCarthy didn't start either.

The Togher side certainly won't lack hunger. 

St Finbarr's Steven Sherlock breaking past Douglas' Kevin Flahive. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
St Finbarr's Steven Sherlock breaking past Douglas' Kevin Flahive. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

It's all of 33 years since the cup found its way out that direction and having gone agonisingly close 12 months ago, you can expect the 'Barr's to leave everything on the pitch on Sunday.

The Haven are also recent champions, having entered the winning enclosure in 2013, when, ironically, they overcame Nemo with a Brian Hurley-inspired display.

The previous season the Haven were also successfully, denying Duhallow, having been in the 2011 decider, too, when going down to UCC.

Coping with expectations will be an important element of their preparation particularly as Duhallow will enter the game under the radar to a certain extent.

Yet, you only have to look at the quality of player at their disposal to know the Haven can take nothing from granted.

It's a major week for the big ball, starting tonight with a first-round game between the second teams of Valley Rovers and St Michael's in the junior championship at Páirc Uí Rinn at 7.30pm.

At stake is a quarter-final place against Dromtarriffe on the same side of the draw as Midleton-Urhan.

City champions Delanys are in the bottom half, taking on Ballymartle with the Boherbue-Kilmacabea contest the stand-out tie of the round.

St Michael's are also through to the premier intermediate semi-final where they are provisionally scheduled to meet Éire Óg with Fermoy and Naomh Abán squaring up in the other.

As ever, this championship is full of intrigue with St Michael's bidding to atone for last season's one-point defeat by Mallow in the final and Fermoy also hoping to make amends for the previous year's loss to Kiskeam.

There are five teams left in the intermediate championship. Cill na Martra meet Mitchelstown in one semi-final with the Barrs second team awaiting the outcome of the Aghabullogue-Mayfield quarter-final in the other.

U21 champions, Douglas, who began their title defence with a big win over Beara, meet neighbours Carrigaline in the quarter-final in a repeat of their senior championship encounter.

Meanwhile, former Carrigaline and Cork player, Niall Coakley, helped St Jude's pull off a shock 1-11 to 2-9 win over Ballymun Kickhams in the Dublin quarter-final.

Coakley scored an early goal to set-up a meeting with St Vincent's.

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