Imokilly hoping to benefit from injection of youth

East Cork division meet UCC for chance to play Seandún
Imokilly hoping to benefit from injection of youth

UCC's Neil Montgomery tussles with John Cronin of Imokilly last year. Picture: Howard Crowdy

TONIGHT

Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC (Divisions/Colleges) semi-final

Imokilly v UCC
Páirc Uí Rinn, 7.30pm

A clash with Seandún next Sunday evening is up for grabs as Imokilly clash with UCC tonight.

The East Cork divisional team, three-in-a-row champions from 2017-19, lost their crown last year as UCC finished strongly to beat them by a point and manager Ciarán Cronin is anticipating another tough clash.

“It’s almost exactly like last year,” he says, “the only difference is that we got to watch them against Duhallow last year.

“As luck would have it, the draw went this way again. It’s all on the night, really, I presume they’ve an idea as to who they might and mightn’t have and we’ve an idea who we might and mightn’t have.

“A lot of lads had football championship at the weekend, we met on Sunday night and called out the team but, whether that’s the team on the pitch on Tuesday, we just don’t know yet as there have been so many injuries this year. At the end of the day, that’s why you have a panel.”

Imokilly are without the injured Colm Spillane and Bill Cooper, while another Cork star, Niall O’Leary, will be lining out for UCC, along with Castlemartyr’s Darragh Moran. Nevertheless, Cronin has been happy with how they have managed with limited preparation time.

“We tried to meet every ten days or so,” he says.

“We played Blackrock twice – the last time was last week in Ballynoe, just to get used to playing under lights again as it’ll be lights from now on in. We played Carrigtwohill as well around a fortnight ago.

“Players have a lot of games with their clubs and we understand that we can’t be playing too many matches so it’s been training more than games this year, whereas previously it would probably have been matches moreso than training.”

Added to the panel are All-Ireland U20 medal winners Eoin Davis, Diarmuid Kearney and Ciarán Joyce.

“They’re all 19, 20 years of age, whereas a lot on our panel the last few years have been mid-20s,” Cronin says.

“It’s good to get that injection of youth because it’s a revolving door, you have to keep integrating or you’ll end up going stale otherwise.

“That’s what we’ve tried to do this year, I think there are eight new faces on the panel compared to last year’s 35. It’s an extra chance to showcase their talents.”

UCC, with O’Leary as captain, are likely to field Waterford’s Neil Montgomery, Paddy Cadell and Mark Kehoe of Tipperary and Shane Conway (Kerry).

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