A place in the semi-finals of the divisions and colleges section of the premier senior hurling championship is up for grabs this evening as Muskerry seek to build on last week’s impressive defeat of Duhallow.
Making their return to the championship after missing out on 2020, there might have been some uncertainty as to the mid-Cork division’s capabilities – especially as their opponents had been the only division apart from Imokilly to enter last year – but there were no signs of rustiness as they chalked up a 3-22 to 0-9 win.
A fast start laid the groundwork for Muskerry as they led by 1-6 to 0-1 at the first-half water-break, Mark Lucey with the goal. The Donoughmore man finished with 1-3 to his name while Eoin Maher and Colm O’Callaghan were also prominent on the scoresheet.
Past All-Ireland final referee Diarmuid Kirwan is the Muskerry manager and he can also call on the likes of goalkeeper Dylan Desmond, All-Ireland U20 medallist Fenton Denny, captain Mark Verling and Shane Kingston (Ballinora), who has represented Cork at minor level.
This will be Seandún’s first time taking part in the senior hurling championship since 2010. They are under the management of Paul McCarthy, son of the legendary Gerald, and have had buy-in from the main non-senior hurling clubs in the city division.
Former Cork star Cian McCarthy, who won the championship four times while with Sarsfields, is likely to be a key man, having inspired Passage to the divisional junior football title last year. His clubmate Seán Harrington is another who could feature heavily, along with Nicky Kelly (Mayfield), Tomás Lawrence and Darragh Rodgers (Brian Dillons – the divisional hurling champions), Whitechurch’s Micheál Mullins – who was part of the Cork U20 set-up against Tipperary last night – and Blake Murphy of St Vincent’s.
The winners will progress to the semi-finals, which have been reduced to three teams following decision of MTU Cork not to take part in this year’s championship, due to Covid-19 concerns. As a result, one of UCC or Imokilly will take on Muskerry or Seandun while the other side will receive a bye to the divisions/colleges final – with a place in the quarter-final of the championship proper the prize on offer.
With last week’s game behind them, and the fact that their opponents are returning to the competition after a long lay-off, Muskerry are the strong favourites and it would be a surprise if they were not the team advancing. However, in a one-off championship game, anything can happen.