A place in the quarter-finals of the premier senior hurling championship is on offer as the divisions and colleges section of the competition comes to a close.
On Tuesday night, Mark McCarthy was the hero for Imokilly as they edged UCC out by a point and the East Cork divisional side – champions in 2017, 2018 and 2019 – have a quick turnaround as they face Seandún.
The city team, absent from the championship for so long – this was their first time entering since 2010 – won impressively against Muskerry in July and will look to rediscover that momentum.
Mayfield pair Shane Duggan and David O’Neill featured heavily among the scorers that night while Cian McCarthy – winner of four senior medals with Sarsfields between 2008 and 2014 – and Nicky Kelly are also key members of Paul McCarthy’s side along with Shane O’Donovan and Darragh Brosnan.
Having lost out to UCC at this stage last year, Imokilly made amends earlier this week, with Séamus Harnedy helping them to a strong finish as they overcame the College. McCarthy, a late inclusion in place of the injured William Leahy, scored three points while Shane O’Regan was a dangerous threat inside and Colm Barry impressed at full-back while Brian Lawton was industrious and his brother Barry did well with a late cameo.
Cork panellists Colm Spillane and Bill Cooper are on the injured list for Ciarán Cronin’s side, though, and if Leahy remains unavailable then they will suffer from the absence of his free-taking reliability.
Nevertheless, having that game under their belts should stand to them, especially with this one coming hot on its heels. In contrast, Seandún have had limited opportunities to get together since the Muskerry game as club championship commitments have taken precedence.
The city side won’t lack for commitment or effort – creating a squad from scratch over the past year would have been a great achievement in a normal year, all the more so given everything else going on – but they may find Imokilly too strong.