Harty Cup talking points: Christians v Midleton CBS

Éamonn Murphy looks at the big moments in CBC's 1-20 to 1-14 Dr Harty Cup opening round win at Midleton
Harty Cup talking points: Christians v Midleton CBS

David Cremin, CBC, putting pressure on George Walsh Wallace, Midleton CBS, in the Harty Cup clash. Picture: Dan Linehan

AFTER a tight first half, Christians powered on after a clinically finished Eoghan Kirby goal to win by six points in Wednesday's Harty Cup derby.

They're through to the knockout stages in the New Year, while Midleton are left to regroup.

1. CHRISTIANS ARE LEADING CONTENDERS:

CBC were favourites for the cancelled competition last winter when Jack Cahalane would have spearheaded their charge. He's no longer in the school but they have a host of former Cork minor starters in their team, including Shane Kingston, Eoin Downey, James Dwyer, Mikey Finn, Brian Keating, Eoin O'Leary and David Cremin.

 Daire Burke, CBC, has his jersey held by Daniel Murnane, Midleton CBS during their Dr. Harty Cup Munster PPS A U19 hurling championship match at the Clonmult Memorial Park, Midleton. Picture Dan Linehan
Daire Burke, CBC, has his jersey held by Daniel Murnane, Midleton CBS during their Dr. Harty Cup Munster PPS A U19 hurling championship match at the Clonmult Memorial Park, Midleton. Picture Dan Linehan

And that's before you include those on extended panels or development squads in recent years, like Douglas' Daire Burke, who interestingly is also a schools star in rugby, and Blarney's Eoghan Kirby and Eoin O'Neill. 

That balance was telling, especially in attack, against a Midleton crop that leaned quite heavily on Jack Leahy and Diarmuid Healy, though sub Colm Leahy (Killeagh) was lively on his introduction and excellent in the air. The late goal that offered CBS a lifeline came courtesy of Timmy Wilk, but after starting midfield he had to be redeployed to corner-back before half-time to try and curb David Cremin's enthusiasm. 

Midleton just didn't have the same punch.

Outside of the marquee players, the likes of centre-back Cormac McDonnell, wing-forward Rhys Dunne and sweeper Louis Casey did terrific work for Christians.

2. DAVID CREMIN'S ACCURACY: 

Midleton senior wing-back Ciarmhac Smyth, who'll face the Glen in this season's county final, was tasked with man-marking Eoin O'Leary. He did a fine job on Christians' rangy forward but they had plenty of other go-to options across the front six.

Burke clipped over two fine scores and Kirby finished with 1-4 but the key attacker in the first half was Cremin. He hit five of their nine first-half points and was fouled for two converted frees. His pace and ball-winning was only topped by the quality of his striking. 

A Midleton club man, he shot 1-2 for the Cork minor hurlers when they beat Galway in the All-Ireland back in August. He ended up with 0-6 from play in this Harty Cup opener and is one to watch in the next phase.

3. SPECIAL HARTY ATMOSPHERE:

While some of the chants were inappropriate, as you'd expect from teenage boys enjoying a Wednesday afternoon out of school, there was a terrific blend of colour and noise in Clonmult Memorial Park. 

 James Dwyer, CBC, winning this midfield ball from Darragh McCarthy, Midleton CBS. Picture Dan Linehan
James Dwyer, CBC, winning this midfield ball from Darragh McCarthy, Midleton CBS. Picture Dan Linehan

There's a back-door route, against the losers of St Colman's and Blackwater College, but securing a quarter-final spot in January meant the players and supporters were highly motivated. 

The weather was ideal, little or no wind, dry and mild, so while the pitch was heavy in the closing stages, with players cramping, conditions facilitated an excellent game, with raw physicality and no shortage of skill. Referee Simon Stokes helped matters, letting it flow throughout.

Teddy McCarthy and Joe Deane, Harty Cup winners back in the day with the Mon and Midleton respectively, were in attendance, as were Seamus Harnedy, new Cork minor manager Paudie Murray and Munster Council Jerry O'Sullivan, reflecting the ongoing popularity of the competition.  

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