Rebel Óg Minor Hurling: Semi-final preview

Rory Noonan looks ahead to Friday night's huge P1 clashes in the Mardyke
Rebel Óg Minor Hurling: Semi-final preview

Josh Woods of Valley Rovers reaches for the sliotar ahead of Midleton's Darragh Egan during the Premier 1 Minor hurling match in Midleton. Picture: Howard Crowdy

IT’S down to the final four in the Rebel Og Premier 1 MHC with the semi-finals taking place in the Mardyke tonight.

In the final round-robin games, it was a tension-filled night before Valley Rovers, Douglas, Ballincollig, and Midleton emerged, with literally the last shot of the game seeing the Magpies through.

Valley Rovers and Douglas are first up at 6.45pm, followed by Ballincollig against Midleton at 8.15pm.

Niall Lang’s injury-time strike against Valleys saw Midleton top the group ahead of their opponents on the night. Both finished on four points, but the Magpies won the head-to-head to top the group.

Along with Lang, others who Midleton will look to tonight include Alex Howard, Alex Moloney, Cian Lambe, and Tadhg O’Leary Hayes, in what will be a tough tie against Ballincollig.

The Village also had their moments of drama in their final group game; at one stage they were out, but they scored the final three points of their clash with Fermoy to earn the draw they needed to finish second behind Douglas.

That draw, combined with a win for Douglas over Na Piarsaigh, ensured that Ballincollig went through, but they will be the first to admit that they will have to up their performance to beat the Magpies.

They opened their round-robin series with a good away win over Na Piarsaigh, one of the favourites for the title, and they will need to repeat that performance to have a chance of reaching the final.

Cork minor Pete Kelly, Luke Harris, Conor Dalton and Brian Dore will backbone the side while they will also look to the likes of Eoin Dwyer, George Howard, David O'Leary and Ben O’Connell to shine.

Ballincollig's Jack Murphy and Luke Harris drive onto the ball against Fermoy. Picture: Denis Boyle
Ballincollig's Jack Murphy and Luke Harris drive onto the ball against Fermoy. Picture: Denis Boyle

Valley Rovers lost to Na Piarsaigh in the last year’s U16 final and are determined to make up for that defeat. They are a quality side and will provide a tough challenge for Douglas. But for conceding that late goal against Midleton, they would have topped their group and that will have annoyed them on the night.

Similar to Douglas, Valleys are involved in the hurling and football at Premier 1 level, a great achievement in itself. Valleys reached both U16 Premier 1 deciders last year, a feat they will be aiming to repeat.

The side is packed full of talented players with the likes of Matthew Woods and Eoin Guinane anchoring their defence. Up front Kevin Dart O’Flynn, Dave Carthew, and Sean Mac an tSaoi will take some stopping and are sure to test the Douglas defence.

Douglas were the only side to win all of their group games, but they know that will count for nothing tonight.

As with the Innishannon side, Douglas are fighting on two fronts which is not easy and they will need big games from the likes of Fionan Barry, Joe Hartnett, and Robert Hanley to have any chance of beating Valleys.

At Premier 2 level there is a double-header at Killeagh where Erin’s Own take on Carrigtwohill (6.45pm) followed by Aghada against Bride Rovers (8.15pm).

FIXTURES

TONIGHT

Premier 1 MHC semi-finals: Valley Rovers v Douglas, 6.45pm; Ballincollig v Midleton, 8.15pm, both at the Mardyke.

Premier 2 MHC quarter-finals: Erin’s Own v Carrigtwohill, 6.45pm; Aghada v Bride Rovers, 8.15pm, both at Killeagh.

Premier 1 MHC Challenge Cup semi-finals: Na Piarsaigh v Sarsfields, at Na Piarsaigh; Glen Rovers v Fermoy, at Glen Rovers, both games at 6.30pm.

Premier 2 MHC Challenge Cup quarter-finals: St Catherine's v Bishopstown, at St Catherine's; Ballinhassig v Mallow, at Ballinhassig, both games at 6.30pm.

Mid-Region Division 1 HC: Aghabullogue v Kinsale; Donoughmore v Ballinora, both 6.30pm; Grenagh v Cloughduv, 7pm; Carrigaline v Eire Og, 8pm.

North Region Division 1 HC: Clyda Rovers v Ballyhea, 6.45pm.

North Region Division2 HC: Buttevant v Liscarroll/Churchtown Gaels, 6.45pm.

North Region Division 3 HC: Newmarket v St Dominics, 6.45pm.

East Region Division 2 FC: Cobh v Mayfield, 6.45pm.

West Region Division 1 HC: Cill Mochomog v Kilbrittain, 6.45pm.

West Region Division 2 HC: Newcestown v Clonakilty; Owen Gaels v Ibane Gaels; Sliabh Rua v Ahan Gaels, all 7pm.

West Region Division 3 HC: Lee Gaels v Western Gaels; Sam Maguires v Laochra Og; St James v Rossa Gabriels. All 7pm.

SUNDAY

West Region Division 1 HC: Bandon v Courcey Rovers, 6pm.

West Region Division 2 FC: Newcestown v Owen Gaels, noon.

MONDAY

North Region Division 2 HC: Croke Rovers v Millstreet, 6.45pm.

West Region Division 3 FC: Dunmanus Rovers v St James, 6.45pm.

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