Cork club hurling talking points: Red cards cast a shadow in Premier SHC

Éamonn Murphy looks at the key moments from the weekend action, including Patrick Horgan's dismissal, Blackrock's impressive win over Douglas and Midleton's challenge in the semi-finals
Cork club hurling talking points: Red cards cast a shadow in Premier SHC

Glen Rovers' Patrick Horgan after being sent off by referee Simon Stokes against Imokilly during the PSHC quarter-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

SO the semi-finals of the Premier SHC are set; it's top seeds Sars against Glen Rovers and champions Blackrock versus Midleton.

Here we look at the talking points ahead of the big games in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

1. PATRICK HORGAN'S RED CARD:

The Glen's quest for revenge against Imokilly, their conquerors in the 2019 county final, almost turned into mission impossible when Patrick Horgan saw red before half-time. 

The northsiders refused to yield however, leading by the minimum at the break and coming back from two points down in the closing stages to prevail. That was thanks to a pair of exceptional Simon Kennefick points, but also the fury of the Downey brothers, Eoin and Robert, and Brian Moylan, across the half-back line.

Horgan had been in typically electric form in recent weeks and already had 1-1 from play scored before Simon Stokes' umpires alerted him to an off-the-ball incident. 

The result was his dismissal and suspension for the next game. 

Glen Rovers' Patrick Horgan scores from Imokilly's Kieran Histon during the PSHC quarter-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Glen Rovers' Patrick Horgan scores from Imokilly's Kieran Histon during the PSHC quarter-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

That is unless the Glen can find a way to appeal the decision, which they managed to do when he was sent off against Bishopstown in 2014, he'll be absent for the clash with the Rockies. While The Irish Examiner provided excellent streaming coverage of the game, they couldn't shine any light on Horgan and John Cronin's coming together last Sunday.

Cronin himself got the line in the last quarter, picking up a second yellow, with both players seriously aggrieved with the ref. Stokes is one of the best refs in Cork and always lets the game flow and Horgan's red was on his umpire's advice.

Whatever about getting the better of Imokilly, it's extremely difficult to see Rovers upsetting Sars without Horgan, who has 4-33 shot from his three and a half appearances this season.

Sars were at their dazzling best in winning all three of their group games, comfortably brushing Na Piarsaigh, Carrigtwohill and Midleton aside in Barry Myers' first campaign. The only question is whether the break by automatically qualifying for the semi-final was a disadvantage. 

2. FRUSTRATION FOR DOUGLAS:

Just like 2020, the promise shown by Douglas in the group stages of the PSHC wasn't enough to get them past neighbours Blackrock in the quarter-finals. Unlike last season, Sunday's contest was effectively over from early in the second half.

By the time Alan Connolly raised his second green flag in the Páirc, the Rockies were in full control. At that juncture, the underdogs were down to 14 with Brian Hartnett sent off coming up to half-time, just after Connolly's first goal.

Douglas were game to the end, and unlucky when an Eoin Cadogan run ended with the sliotar in the side-netting instead of the net, but were up against a powerful, confident and well-balanced Blackrock side. 

Fergal Ryan guided them to the Seán Óg Murphy canister 12 months ago and they are certainly the team to beat.

Douglas' frustration came from the heavy hit shipped by Mark Harrington as Shane O'Keeffe rampaged through to set up Connolly for the key first goal. 

Blackrock's Shane O'Keeffe runs into Douglas' Mark Harrington just before the first goal on Sunday. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Blackrock's Shane O'Keeffe runs into Douglas' Mark Harrington just before the first goal on Sunday. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

It certainly looked a free out on the replay, something referee Cathal McAllister didn't have the benefit of.

That's not to say Douglas would have won anyway. Despite having a strong wind in the opening period, their early wides and set-up with their forwards pulled out to crowd the middle third, meant the Rockies were never really chasing the game.

One consolation for Douglas is their footballers have a PSFC semi-final on the horizon. But for the hurling faithful in the club, the campaign ended on a disappointing note again.

3. MIDLETON'S CHALLENGE:

County champions eight years ago, runners-up in '18, Midleton are always contenders for silverware, given their rich pedigree, underage success and the reliability at this level of key forwards Conor Lehane and Luke O'Farrell.

With Ben O'Connor in his second season as coach, the Magpies saw off Erin's Own on Friday night, albeit after Kieran Murphy was sent off when the sides were deadlocked at 0-12 apiece. 

Midleton keeper Brian Saunderson breaks out of defence while Ciarmhac Smyth holds back Erin's Own's Cian O'Callaghan. Picture: Dan Linehan
Midleton keeper Brian Saunderson breaks out of defence while Ciarmhac Smyth holds back Erin's Own's Cian O'Callaghan. Picture: Dan Linehan

Did they show the quality that will be required to beat Blackrock though? That's debatable. And they were overwhelmed by Sars in the last group game. It'll be interesting to see how they cope with the Rockies' physicality and mean defence in the semi-final.

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