SATURDAY Harty Cup semi-finals: Ard Scoil Rís v CBC; Midleton CBS v Our Lady’s Templemore.
IT’S down to the penultimate hurdle in the Dr Harty Cup and there is a decent chance that we could have an all-Cork final.
That situation arises because of the fact that Midleton CBS and CBC have been kept apart in the semi-final draw.
It is, however, a bit of a long shot as Ard Scoil Ris are installed as favourites to see off the challenge of the city school, despite the fact of how well CBC have done in reaching this stage of the old competition.
In the other game, Midleton CBS are the more fancied unit despite the fact that Our Lady’s Templemore are the reigning champions.
However, the fact that the bulk of that title-winning team are now not involved gives Midleton CBS the perfect opportunity of reaching their first final since 2006 when they won it outright.
This is a highly rated Midleton CBS side that contains quite a few players from the successful Cork under-17 and minor teams of last season.
Sean O’Leary- Hayes, Jamie Landers, Ger Millerick, Arron Walsh-Barry, Liam Gosnell, Liam O’Shea, Joe Stack, Darragh Moran and Cathal Hickey are all very good hurlers who have stood up well in all the games thus far.
They did lose a group game to Ard Scoil Ris but there was nothing between the sides that day and they won a fine game in difficult conditions against Thurles CBS the last day in Clonmel.
Our Lady’s Templemore were fortunate enough to see off the challenge of St John the Baptist from Hospital in their quarter-final, winning by a point but that does say they should be taken lightly here.
They have fine players in Andrew Ormonde, Gearoid O’Connor, James Devaney, Jack Ryan and Eanna McBride.
They won’t relinquish the crown easily but if Midleton CBS realise their full potential, they should win.
Verdict: Midleton CBS.
In the other semi-final, CBC will have taken huge confidence from their win over cup traditionalists, St Colman’s Fermoy.
That was a serious statement of intent from the Cork city school and they’ll not fear Ard Scoil Rís in any shape or form.
This is a well balanced CBC team with strong half-backs in Brian Hartnett and Cillian O’Donovan from Douglas and strong forwards in Tommy O’Connell from Midleton, Robert Downey the Glen and Iarlaith Daly from Lismore.
Donal O’Mahony and Tony Wall will have them primed for this game and a good start will set them up for a serious challenge against what many believe to be the title favourites.
The Limerick school had matters all their own way against Gaelcoláiste Mhuire AG in their semi-final and romped into the winners enclosure on a scoreline of 3-20 to 1-5.
They certainly won’t have it as easy here or anything near it but it remains a big ask for CBC to reach their first final.
The school has made great strides in recent years and they could come out on top here.
To do so they will have to be strong in all sectors and curb the influence of Diarmuid Ryan who has already featured for the Clare senior team in the Munster League.
He secured 1-4 in the semi-final while Paul O’Brien impacted heavily too with a haul of eight points.
Add in Rian Considine, Josh Considine and Jerome Boylan and you have a well-balanced side who are dead set on regaining the title.
The two schools met last week in the Munster senior rugby cup with CBC coming out easy winners.
That, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with this encounter but, nonetheless, a good example has been set.
From a Cork perspective, it would be marvellous to get an all Cork final, the first since back in the ‘90s when the North Mon defeated Midleton CBS.
There is a decent chance of it coming to pass but the greater likelihood is that it will be a Cork-Limerick final with Midleton CBS taking on Ard Scoil Ris Ard Scoil Ris get the nod in this game but CBC will make them earn it all the way.
Verdict: Ard Scoil Rís.