EVEN though they’ve no silverware to display it has still been a successful season for Kanturk hurlers with the concentration now totally fixed on football.
Survival in the CO-OP Superstores county PSHC was the top priority on their maiden voyage and victory over reigning champions Midleton in their concluding group game added to the overall satisfaction of being among the elite clubs again in 2023.
With practically the same group of players involved in Kanturk’s bid for another Bon Secours county PIFC final appearance, it’s now all eyes on the 2020 semi-final repeat against Cill na Martra in Mallow on Saturday week at 4pm.
It’s one of the stand-out fixtures on a diamond weekend for football, bringing together two clubs with insatiable appetites for scores though the events of two years ago more than hint at a much lower return without losing any fascination at the same time.
Kanturk are a rare breed in that dabbling football and hurling on successive weekends in the heat of qualifying for the knock-out stages of championships doesn’t appear to be overtaxing with a low injury count bearing witness.
Reaching finals in both codes hasn’t been an issue, but that premier intermediate title remains elusive, having contested the last two finals, losing out to Duhallow neighbours, Newmarket last season and Knocknagree the year before. Third time lucky?
Consistency is their hallmark as this will be their fourth successive semi-final, losing to St Michael’s after a replay in 2019, and yet Kanturk know they can take nothing for granted against the Gaeltacht club.
Two years ago, both semi-finals were goal-less and only the minimum margin separated Kanturk in 0-12 to 0-11 success and Knocknagree pipping Newmarket by 0-15 to 0-14.
If anything, those score lines reflect the big difference in qualifying and the business end of championships, when competition is at its fiercest.
In their three games to-date, Kanturk have amassed a whopping 8-42 with the Walsh brothers dominating the scoring charts.
Ian leads the way with 0-15 followed by Colin on 0-12, Alan with 3-2 and Ryan with 2-4. Their cousins, captain Aidan and centre-back Tommy are other important figures in a formidable side.
Cill na Martra have played a game more, also returning impressive stats of 8-55 and there’s no disguising the central plank of their attack, full-forward Micheal O Deasuna, who has already claimed 5-21 from his four outings.
This is the Muskerry club’s third semi-final on the spin, having lost to Newmarket by a couple of goals last season while the other last-four tie brings Bantry Blues and Iveleary to Dunmanway the same afternoon for another 4pm start.
Bantry have been here before, losing to Eire Og by two points in 2019 and champions Fermoy the previous year while this is virgin territory for the Inchigeelagh club, last year’s intermediate A victors, who are highly regarded.
There’s a familiar look to one of the semi-final pairings in intermediate A as neighbours Mitchelstown and Kilshannig gear up for another belter if last season’s 2-11 to 1-13 triumph by the Town is any yardstick.
They collide in Fermoy on Saturday week at 3pm with junior champions Boherbue tackling Aghabullogue in the other tie in Millstreet at 4pm.
And there’s also a similar theme running through the fortunes of Mitchelstown and Aghabullogue, who are no strangers to contending either.
This is the Town’s fourth semi-final in five years with two wins and one defeat to their name, denying Kilshannig despite not having Mark Keane and then losing Cathail O’Mahony to injury before rallying from six points to register a famous win.
Their opponents didn’t have Killian O’Hanlon, who leads their charge this term, and also had to play with 14 men.
Aghabullogue are playing in their fifth successive semi-final, losing the 2018 final to Cill na Martra.
Meanwhile, well-known Sports Psychologist Canice Kennedy is running a course for coaches.
Previously it was held at Douglas Community School, but now he presents it online for an hour-and-a-half, starting on Monday at 8pm, costing €60, for five weeks.
The course helps coaches in developing their coaching skills by focusing on the role of mental fitness, aspects like confidence in sport, competition concentration, mental toughness and coaching performance.
Further information from email@example.com.