Cork club hurling talking points: Patrick Horgan's continued brilliance and Tommy O'Connell's emergence at six

Éamonn Murphy looks at the key moments from the weekend action, including a comeback for the ages from Kanturk
Cork club hurling talking points: Patrick Horgan's continued brilliance and Tommy O'Connell's emergence at six

Glen Rovers talisman Patrick Horgan and manager Ian Lynam after defeating Sarsfields last weekend. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

A number of the final pairings in the Cork club hurling championships are set, including Midleton v Glen (PSHC), Castlemartyr v Sars (IAHC) and Kilbrittain v Lisgoold (LIHC).

In the SAHC, Kanturk face Bride Rovers or Fr O'Neill's while in the PIHC it's Castlelyons-Ballinhassig versus Courceys-Valleys. 

Here we access the big moments from the weekend.

1. ANOTHER HORGAN MASTERCLASS:

Just the 1-11 for Patrick Horgan in the Glen's defeat of Sars last Sunday to take him up to 5-44 across the championship. The quality of some of his five points from play and his rasping goal thrilled the crowd. 

After his semi-final heroics, Horgan will stand for the anthem before his seventh senior county final. He lifted the Seán Óg Murphy Cup in 2015 and '16, but lost the 2010, '14, '19 and 2020 deciders.

The cynics will say the Cork captain was fortunate to escape suspension after his red card in the quarter-final win over Imokilly but he made the most of his reprieve, causing William Kearney and Conor O'Sullivan huge problems. 

That's not to say it wasn't a collective effort, with Rob Downey a beast at centre-back and Dean Brosnan and Simon Kennefick slicing over two classy points apiece. The Glen's intensity and work-rate were critical factors.

Sars hurled well in an engaging contest, Cork dynamo Jack O'Connor but also young guns like Aaron Myers, Cian Darcy and Kevin Crowley. That's no consolation to them of course and they haven't made the county final since the 2015 loss to the Glen.

They'll be firmly in the mix for silverware again next season

2. MIGHTY MAGPIES:

Blackrock, the champions and deserved favourites for the county on the basis of their brilliance against Douglas and the Barrs, are out. They could have no complaints when the final whistle sounded in the Páirc last Sunday.

Midleton were full value for their victory and, after a disappointing display in losing their last group game to Sars and a dogged display to get past 14-man Erin's Own, hit top form at just the right time. The 'Ben O'Connor effect' could be seen in every line of the field, with Midleton showing incredible pace, fitness and aggression to secure possession while they distributed it with purpose. 

Conor Lehane was their top-scorer with 0-10, four from play, and two of them the type of highlight-reel efforts that used to electrify Cork fans. However, the former Rebel wasn't a one-man-band. 

Cormac Beausang, pacy wing-forward when they last reached a county final in 2018, was a powerhouse as Midleton's mobile target-man, finishing with 1-4; they also got 1-2 from Ross O'Regan, a goal from Pa White and 1-1 via Luke O'Farrell. 

Cork senior Seán O'Leary-Hayes curbed Alan Connolly for the most part, defenders Ciarmhac Smyth and Cormac Walsh hurled the world of ball and midfielders Paul Haughney and Sam Quirke ran themselves into the ground. 

The stand-out performer though was Tommy O'Connell. 

Midleton's Tommy O'Connell tackled by Blackrock's Mark O'Keeffe and Alan Connolly. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Midleton's Tommy O'Connell tackled by Blackrock's Mark O'Keeffe and Alan Connolly. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

An All-Ireland winner at U17 and U20 level with Cork, he's been at midfield or up front for the most part before now. Ben O'Connor, Ger Fitzgerald and the Midleton management have recast him as a play-making centre-back and he was majestic against the Rockies. 

3. KANTURK'S COMEBACK:

Newcestown led the SAHC semi-final 0-20 to 0-12 in the second on Saturday night, having been five points down after the opening exchanges.

Come full-time, and despite Paul Walsh being sent-off in the 42nd minute, the Duhallow side had tied it up: 2-17 to 0-23. They then bossed the additional 20 minutes, winning 4-23 to 0-26, a 17-point turnaround!

 Lorcán McLoughlin, Kanturk, shoots from Eoghan Collins, Newcestown. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Lorcán McLoughlin, Kanturk, shoots from Eoghan Collins, Newcestown. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

A real rollercoaster of club hurling.

Kanturk must wait on the winners of Fr O'Neill's and Bride Rovers in the final, but first, they've another semi-final of their own to complete, against Aghada's footballers in the PIFC.

Dual diamonds from north Cork.

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