Club football talking points: Steven Sherlock deserves another chance with Cork

Éamonn Murphy looks at the key moments from the weekend action, including a victory for darkhorses Clon over Duhallow
Club football talking points: Steven Sherlock deserves another chance with Cork

Steven Sherlock scores a point from a free for St Finbarr's. Picture: Larry Cummins.

SO the semi-finals of the Premier SFC are set; it's top seeds Douglas against Clonakilty and St Finbarr's versus Castlehaven.

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

1. STEVEN SHERLOCK; SCORING MACHINE:

For long spells of Friday's PSFC quarter-final in the Páirc, Éire Óg looked likely winners. They were particularly dangerous in the first quarter, powering into a 0-7 to 0-1 lead and squeezing up hard on John Kerins' kick-outs.

The athleticism of Colm O'Callaghan, Jack Murphy and the rest punched holes in the Barrs rearguard but the underdogs never got the goal they were going to require. The Blues' experience and the obvious quality of Ian Maguire and Steven Sherlock helped reel them in. 

Still, when Brian Hayes was sent off, with Éire Óg a man up for the last quarter, the upset was still on the cards. That Paul O'Keeffe's charges prevailed was down to their depth and nous at this level and the deadly accuracy of Sherlock.

After hitting 1-14 in the group stages, the brilliant attacker ripped it up in this quarter-final, adding another 0-10, five from play. He split the posts from left and right, as he's done consistently season after season for the Barrs.

Cork captain Maguire, and Rebel panellist Sam Ryan, were prominent, but Sherlock was the undoubted MVP. 

For all his excellence at club level, the 24-year-old never got a regular run for Cork and wasn't in the squad in 2020 or this year. 

New manager Keith Ricken will naturally look to blood more of the 2019 All-Ireland winning Cork crop next spring but surely the time has come to give Sherlock another chance?

It's been said he's an old-school forward, not known for tracking back, but he's a lethal finisher... 

2. CLON COMEBACK:

Clonakilty's comeback against Duhallow was inspirational stuff. Hemmed in by the division for long spells and unable to put a run of scores together, they trailed by six with 15 minutes to go only to hit seven points in a row to triumph.

They're now into a first semi-final since 2010, when they were reigning champions, and puts them on the other of the draw to front-runners Castlehaven and the Barrs. Douglas knocked out Nemo and are top seeds after going unbeaten in the group stages, but Clon won't fear them.

A highlight of their brilliant last quarter against Duhallow was the marauding Mark White, who kept up his sweeper-keeper routine by driving upfield to assist in a crucial point and create overlaps. It's the towering Cork goalie's trademark and while they're high-risk, there was a rich reward on this occasion.

Clonakilty's Sean White is tackled by Duhallow's Joe Grimes and Jerry O'Connor. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Clonakilty's Sean White is tackled by Duhallow's Joe Grimes and Jerry O'Connor. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

For the North Cork division, this was a bitter defeat given how dominant they were. Donncha O'Connor turned 40 this year and still chipped in with 0-5, three from play. He's been the spearhead for Duhallow since the noughties but has lost county finals in 2012, '18 and '19. It's hard to see him getting back to one now.

3. DOUGLAS DELIGHT:

We'll have to wait and see if Douglas can return to a senior county final, 13 years since they were beaten by Nemo. For their handful of dual players, the break since the group stages will have been a real boost, but they now take on a Clon outfit with momentum.

Whatever happens, it's been an excellent season for Douglas, whose second team won the Seandún JAFC last Sunday, while their third and fourth sides contested the Junior B final the day before.

 Conor Hanley and Sean Holland, St Michael's, looking to tackle Brendan Powter, Douglas. Picture: Dan Linehan
Conor Hanley and Sean Holland, St Michael's, looking to tackle Brendan Powter, Douglas. Picture: Dan Linehan

Defensively, Douglas have been miserly throughout the campaign. No surprise with Nathan Walsh, Kevin Flahive, Seán Powter and Seán Wilson anchoring their side, while Brian and Niall Hartnett are a dynamic midfield pairing. The question is whether they've the type of game-breakers the Barrs and Castlehaven have.

Clon are probably in the same boat, notwithstanding Kerry native Dara O'Shea's tally of 2-19 to date. Their marquee men are also defenders: Maurice Shanley, Liam O'Donovan, Tom Clancy and Sean White, with Mark White behind them in goal.

PSFC TOP SCORERS

1. Steven Sherlock (St Finbarr’s) 1-24 (0-9 f, 0-4 45) 

2. Brian Hurley (Castlehaven) 2-20 (0-8 f).

3. Dara O'Shea (Clonakilty) 2-19 (0-14 f).

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more