Cork players return for clubs’ league semi-finals

St Finbarr's, Nemo Rangers, Eire Og and Cill na Martra welcome back their Cork contingent 
Cork players return for clubs’ league semi-finals

St. Finbarrs' Steven Sherlock getting his shot away from Tom Clancy of Clonakilty in last year's county final. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

THE semi-finals of the Cork Credit Unions Leagues at the weekend coincide with the anticipated return of Cork players to their respective clubs.

County champions St Finbarr’s and Cill na Marta renew rivalry from their 2019 Kelleher Shield final in the first Division 1 tie at Togher at 12 noon on Sunday.

That’s followed by the meeting of Nemo Rangers and Eire Og in Trabeg at 3pm while the Division 2 semi-finals feature Aghada-Rockchapel in Rostellan at 1pm and Dohenys-Kanturk in Dunmanway at 3pm.

Iveleary await the outcome of the Glanmire-Kilshannig semi-final in the Division 3 decider though the involvement of so many Kilshannig players with Avondhu, who meet Carbery in the preliminary final of the Divisions/Colleges section on Thursday, impacts on finding a date for that game.

The ’Barr’s, who topped a very competitive group, should be able to call on the strong influences of captain Ian Maguire, ace marksman Steven Sherlock and the emerging Brian Hayes following Cork’s defeat by Dublin the All-Ireland quarter-final.

That’s providing, of course, the trio are available because this is the time of the season for holidays with the championship start looming large on the horizon and players might also feel a break is required given the exertions of the inter-county campaign.

Manager Paul O’Keeffe has managed to qualify without their services, handing opportunities to youngsters like Ethan Twomey and Ben O’Connor in addition to delving deeper into the squad.

Cill na Martra finished runners-up in their group behind Nemo, pipping Valley Rovers on the head-to-head after they finished level on 12 points apiece.

It’s another impressive measure of the consistency of the Gaeltacht club, who have proved more than capable in the top tier, but translating that into the premier intermediate championship remains the on-going challenge.

Dan Dineen was a regular in the Cork half-forward line all season, but defender Tadhg Corkery was injured for the Dublin game and Cill na Martra are sure to adopt a cautious approach regarding any injury issues.

There could be as many as nine Cork players on view in the Nemo-Eire Og encounter, ranging from regulars like keeper Micheal Aodh Martin and defender Kevin O’Donovan for the home side and John Cooper and Colm O’Callaghan for the Ovens club.

There are others like Mark Cronin, Briain Murphy and Kieran Histon for the host club as well as the unusual situation of two visiting keepers, Chris Kelly and Dylan Foley, playing championship though the latter is more accustomed to scoring goals than stopping them.

Eire Og qualified thanks to their impressive win away to Castlehaven earlier in the league after the pair ended level on 13 points, one adrift of the ’Barr’s.

Kanturk have the distinction of qualifying in both football and hurling and they’ll be boosted by Paul and Tommy Walsh while Fionn Herlihy will be part of the Dohenys attack.

The leagues have been an outstanding success in this the first year of the split-season with board chairman Pat Horgan outlining 216 games played and only six walk-overs.

“The bottom line was that it was our responsibility to provide meaningful games and I think we’ve done that in spades,” he told the Echo.

“The leagues were well run and we got great co-operation from the clubs. We were very pleased with that.” 

The plan is to play the finals before the championship, but the beginning of the U19 hurling championship tomorrow evening and the football a week later could impact as Horgan explained.

“The real dilemma facing the board is how we deal with the U19 championship because the equivalent league was disappointing.

“We worked incredibly hard to put a championship programme together for July because clubs didn’t want to clash with senior, intermediate and junior games in August.

“Accordingly, we gave clubs the flexibility of the whole month of July to get these games played and that’s our focus at the moment.

“It also means the U19s will take precedence over league semi-finals and finals if there are clashes.

“If it’s not possible to play those league games they will be picked up later in the season depending on championship progress of the participating teams,” Horgan added.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

Echo WISA

Read all about the monthly winner’s and more.
Click Here

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

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