The hurlers of Carbery will be hoping to make it third time lucky as they take on Muskerry in the preliminary section of the Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC at Cloughduv this evening (7.30pm).
The south-west divisional side have lost to Avondhu and Duhallow in their first two outings but they have another chance to make the semi-finals of this stage. Their Mid-Cork opponents played Carrigdhoun three weeks ago but lost out after extra time.
Carbery have been unlucky with injuries – David Lowney and Michael Cahalane played in the first match, a five-point defeat to Avondhu, but were absent for the one-point loss against Duhallow, when Carbery came from six points down to draw level before Seán Howard got a late winner for the north-west side. On top of that, corner-back James Hurley is also expected to miss out for Charlie Vaughan’s side after he suffered a knock.
Last week, Carbery’s best performers were Aaron Hayes and Philip Wall, who scored 1-3 and 1-2 respectively, while Darren O’Donovan landed important points in the late fightback. Free-taker Jeremy Ryan has impressed at midfield and David Kiely and Aaron Holland can be influential in the half-back line. Carbery are taking part in the championship for the first time since 2019, having not competed during the Covid-affected seasons of 2020 and 2021.
Muskerry looked likelier winners at times in their first game against Carrigdhoun, having led by four points early in the second half, but they were reeled in by their opponents, who scored an injury-time free to send the game to extra time. While Muskerry led twice during the additional 20 minutes, Carrigdhoun had the stronger finish.
Former inter-county referee Diarmuid Kirwan is the Muskerry manager and he has talent at his disposal in the form of young stars Brian Keating and Cian O’Driscoll while Matthew Bradley is another attacker capable of catching fire.
The composition of the semi-final draw will depend on tonight’s result. If Carbery do get the victory then, having already played Avondhu and Duhallow, they will meet Carrigdhoun in the semi-final stage of the preliminary section. On the other hand, a Muskerry win would see them face either Avondhu or Carrigdhoun, while Duhallow taking on the other side.
From that quartet, one side will emerge to join the semi-finals proper of the divisions and colleges group along with UCC, MTU Cork and Imokilly. The winner of that will then progress to the quarter-finals of the championship.
Last year, Imokilly – the champions of 2017, 2018 and 2019 – made it through but then lost to Glen Rovers, while UCC qualified in 2020, reaching the semi-finals before being eliminated by Blackrock.