County champions Kanturk ready to take the next step against Kildysart

PIFC winners will face the Clare side in Ennis on Saturday
County champions Kanturk ready to take the next step against Kildysart

Kanturk captain Aidan Walsh with his son Macdara raises the Billy Long cup after defeating Bantry Blues in the Bon Secours Cork County Premier IFC final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

SATURDAY: Munster Club IFC quarter-final Kanturk v Kildysart, Cusack Park, Ennis, 1.15pm.

KANTURK still contain a number of survivors from the club’s inaugural appearance in the Munster Club football championship in 2011.

Back then the Duhallow club found themselves in the ridiculous position of winning the county junior title on a Friday night and then travelling to Waterville on the Sunday to play the Kerry champions Dromid Pearses.

Kanturk still managed to lead by three points at half-time and by six early in the second half only to eventually run out of steam in a 0-14 to 2-4 extra-time defeat.

For the likes of John and Lorcán McLoughlin, Lorcan O’Neill, captain Aidan Walsh, Mark Healy and Ian Walsh preparations this time should be far more beneficial for the visit to Ennis to take on the Clare champions Kildysart.

Kanturk’s 3-11 to 1-10 victory over Bantry Blues in the PIFC decider was played three weeks ago and gave the new champions enough time to celebrate another famous milestone in the club’s historic promotion to the SAFC in 2023, before returning to training.

The sextet of survivors bring invaluable experience and know-how in a side that is finely balanced with plenty of youth, too.

Walsh is joined by brother Tommy at wing-back and their cousins, Paul, Colin, Ryan, Ian and Alan, along with the Brownes, John and Darren, Brian O’Sullivan, keeper Ronan Cashman and hurling shot-stopper Grantus Bucinksas up front.

Kanturk are one of the most powerful teams around and their impressive conditioning is another factor in their favour, particularly at this time of year, when heavy pitches take a toll on players’ fitness and stamina levels.

There’s one area that does need improving, however, and that’s applying the finishing touches to promising moves with a touch more patience and composure required at times.

Kildysart found themselves embroiled in controversy after defeating Shannon Gaels on penalties in the quarter-final, when they used six substitutes in extra-time, double the permitted number, and two of those took penalties.

Clare county board ordered a replay after the sides drew 0-13 apiece, but Kildysart still prevailed the next day en route to defeating O’Curry’s 0-7 to 0-6 after extra-time in the semi-final and Cooraclare in the final, again by the minimum margin.

The winners take on the Kerry champions, An Ghaeltacht or Rathmore, in the semi-final in a fortnight with Kanturk at home if they’re successful.

The other quarter-final is between Na Piarsaigh from Limerick, who are also in the senior hurling championship, and Roanmore from Waterford. Tipperary’s Ballina await the outcome with the final fixed for December 11.

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