John Horgan on hurling: Newtown, Barrs and Imokilly have momentum

Erin's Own are already through to the Premier SHC semi-finals, who will join them over the weekend?
John Horgan on hurling: Newtown, Barrs and Imokilly have momentum

Newtownshandrum's Tim O'Mahony goes past Douglas' Andrew O'Connell and Daniel Harte during their Co-Op Superstores PSHC game at Mourneabbey. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

PREDICTING the outcome of the three Premier Cork County SHC quarter-finals over the weekend is certainly no easy task.

And you could say that it’s a similar story in the Senior A Championship.

In the past, you could maybe suggest that one team was a safe bet to overcome the other but that’s not the case anymore because the playing field has become much more level than it used to be. You could pencil in the Barrs, Glen or Rockies to lift the trophy once upon a time but the landscape is much changed now.

The Glen and Newtownshandrum get things underway tonight at headquarters. The smarter money might be on the Glen to emerge, or at least it was until Patrick Horgan got injured, Newtown, as they have shown over the past 20 years when they made the big breakthrough under Bernie O’Connor, are never an easy task for any opposition.

They might not be winning the title as frequently as they did in the early 2000s and their team might not contain the marquee names of old but the current team has been constructed in such a way that it has a nice blend of youth and experience and a side with a decent balance.

Two wins from three at the group stage ensured their progress and the most recent victory over a Douglas side that had been in very fine form prior to that clash has made pundits take a lot more notice of them.

That victory will certainly have instilled them with great confidence and players like goalkeeper James Bowles, Jack Herlihy, Cork’s Tim O’Mahony, former Cork players Jamie Coughlan and Cathal Naughton and Jerry Lane providing a solid backbone, they cannot be underestimated and the Glen won’t either.

Coughlan will be lethal from placed balls and this is where the Glen will miss Patrick Horgan.

The Glen reinvented themselves very successfully after losing their opening game to Erin’s Own and as we all know they lost their opener too last season and ended up losing the final very narrowly.

This Glen team has shown a remarkable level of consistency over the past number of years but that was always based on Horgan's accuracy and leadership in attack. The expectation now is he'll miss the rest of the season with his knee injury.

Simon Kennefick, youngster Eoin O’Leary and Dean Brosnan are all capable of securing the necessary scores now while at the back, Cathal Hickey’s goal line will not be easily breached with the experience of Stephen McDonnell, Brian Moylan and Rob Downey in front of him.

 David Dooling, Glen Rovers, battles Maurice O'Carroll, Erin's Own. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
David Dooling, Glen Rovers, battles Maurice O'Carroll, Erin's Own. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

You never, ever write off the inbred resilience of Newtown but the Glen might have that bit more coming down the stretch.

DERBY

Probably, the most intriguing of the quarter-finals is the southside collision of the Barrs and Douglas on Sunday at 2pm.

Douglas have never managed to land the title whilst the Barrs have been without for nearly 30 years.

Will all that change in the coming weeks? Who knows but the form of Douglas in their first two group games and similarly with the Barrs in their final two games has to have both of them in the picture.

Douglas were aiming for a semi-final spot before they came unstuck against Newtown and that setback must be cast to one side now.

With the club’s footballers now out of the equation, it’s hurling concentrated only and this is a huge game for both clubs in a year when there is no clear title favourite.

The Barrs have been outstanding in their wins over the Rockies and Sars and five points from six in the so-called group of death was an outstanding return.

The Douglas minors are through to the Premier 1 final which is an illustration of the young talent emerging in the club. However, it’s a club that needs to be getting into a senior final now at the very least and this team has shown on its best days that can happen.

But maintaining early season form and being more consistent from one game to the next has not always been the case and that has been their undoing.

The Barrs are beginning to reap a fine dividend from their minor team of two years ago and there is vast experience in the side too with Damien Cahalane, Billy Hennessy and Eoghan Finn accompanying youngsters Ethan Twomey, Ben O’Connor and Ben Cunningham.

For Douglas, Eoin Cadogan has been a big loss since being injured but a return here would provide a huge boost and alongside Mark Harrington and Cillian O’Donovan would provide a very formidable half-back trio.

This could be the game of the weekend.

DEPTH

In the final quarter game, Imokilly boss Denis Ring will be hoping that some of his key players come through unscathed in Friday and Saturday night games with their clubs, in particular, Ciarán Joyce with Castlemartyr against Carrigaline on Saturday before the East Cork division face the Rockies.

Imokilly have great strength in depth as they showed in their wins over MTU and Avondhu. However, being truthful, they have not been tested at all but certainly will be here.

The vast majority of this Rockies team have medals from their 2020 win and as a unit, they are very solid, defensively and offensively.

In saying that they came up short against the Barrs when it was put up to them but they bounced back admirably against Charleville and they illustrated the character within the team when they got past Sars after trailing by four points going into stoppage time.

Alan Connolly, Michael O’Halloran, Robbie Cotter and Tadhg Deasy are forwards that will require close monitoring by the Imokilly defence. Brian Lawton, Seamie Harnedy, Ciaran O’Brien, Will Leahy and John Cronin are hugely experienced for Imokilly and Joyce was a revelation for Cork this year.

Yes, intrigue in all three games surely awaits.

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