With the Corn Uí Mhuirí now at quarter-final stage, Denis Hurley runs the rule over eight talents who have impressed in the campaign.
Diarmuid Cahill (St Flannan’s College)
With just three teams in Group C and St Francis College of Rochestown having beaten St Flannan’s and Skibbereen Community School, the Flannan’s-Skibb meeting in Mallow at the end of November was a shoot-out for second place.
It proved to be a term taken literally as Flannan’s conceded 4-7 but scored 11-14 to advance to the quarter-finals. Dual Clare minor Cahill notched an impressive 4-6 that day, while Mark McInerney and Cillian O’Connor each bagged three goals.
Ryan O’Grady (St Brendan’s College)
The competition’s record winners St Brendan’s came out on top in Group D after a one-point win, 1-17 to 2-13, against Tralee CBS in a fantastic tussle at Connolly Park in the final round.
Key to that victory was the midfield partnership of O’Grady and Eoghan O’Sullivan, with O’Grady scoring 1-3. The Legion man was a member of the Kerry minor panel in 2019 and shone as Brendan’s won the O’Sullivan (Kerry PPS SAFC) before Christmas.
James Darmody (Pobalscoil Sliabh Luachra)
The Rathmore outfit came won all three games against Clonakilty, Macroom’s De La Salee and CBS High School Clonmel, with Darmody a regular attacking threat.
Kerry minor Dan Murphy’s forays from midfield are also a key factor for Sliabh Luachra.
Neil Lordan (Coláiste Choilm)
An All-Ireland minor medallist with Cork last September, the Ballinora man was a stand-out as Coláiste Choilm reached the quarter-finals with a game to spare after beating holders Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne and Tralee’s Mercy Mounthawk.
While they lost to Hamilton High School in the final match to determine who finished first and second, the Ballincollig school were without another minor winner, Hugh Murphy of Éire Óg, and his return will be a huge boost as they take on Sliabh Luachra on Wednesday.
Devon Burns (Tralee CBS)
There was no disgrace in Tralee CBS falling a point short of St Brendan’s in their Group D decider and in fact Tralee had a better scoring difference overall, 30 against 28.
In attack, Seán Quilter, an All-Ireland minor medallist in 2018, is the conductor of the Tralee orchestra while at the other end Burns is a valuable asset. He was the Kerry minor custodian last year, earning a spot on the Electric Ireland team of the year, and provides a foreboding last line of defence.
Adam Walsh Murphy (Hamilton High School)
Like his Cork colleague Hugh Murphy for Coláiste Choilm, Valley Rovers man Walsh Murphy was absent from the final group game though the Hammies still prevailed in his absence, winning by 1-8 to 0-7.
Prior to that, Walsh Murphy had provided a commanding presence at centre-back as Corca Dhuibhne and Mercy Mounthawk were seen off and the Bandon school will look for a hat-trick of wins over Kerry teams when they clash with Tralee CBS in Killarney.
Alan O’Hare (St Francis College, Rochestown)
In the three-team Group C, Rochestown saw off St Flannan’s by four points before making light work of Skibbereen, triumphing by 3-13 to 0-5. Douglas clubman O’Hare, a member of the victorious Cork minor panel last year, was to the fore in both games while St Michael’s Alan Connolly – a Cork minor hurler – had a good eye for goal too.
Seán Andrews of Passage and Douglas’s Shane Aherne were also All-Ireland winners last year, giving ‘Roco’ a good spread of quality throughout their team.
Daniel Peet (Clonakilty Community College)
As with Rochestown, Clon have a good spread of All-Ireland winners.
Defender Peet, who plays his club football for Clonakitly, put in a series of good displays and has carried that form into the school year.
He is a strong presence at full-back, aided by two other Cork stars in Jack Lawton (Argideen Rangers) at centre-back with Ryan O’Donovan (Barryroe) in attack – both play underage with Ibane Gaels. Last year, Clon reached the semi-finals despite finishing second in their group and they will look to achieve something similar in this campaign.
Corn Uí Mhuirí AFC quarter-finals (Wednesday, 1pm):
Hamilton HS Bandon v Tralee CBS, Fitzgerald Stadium;
PS Rathmore v CC Ballincollig, Mallow;
St Brendan’s v St Flannan’s, Ballyagran;
St Francis Rochestown v Clonakilty CC (postponed).