Críost Ri need Leahy and Kerrigan to be on top of their games

INTERMEDIATE School Killorglin and Coláiste Chríost Rí will be at full strength for Sunday’s Irish Examiner Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-final at Carrigadrohid (2.30pm).

Both schools have done well to reach this stage and it should be a good hour's football before Coláiste Na Sceilge's opponents in the final (March 21) are known.

Críost Rí were pushed all the way by St Brendan's in their previous outing and needed a great finish four points in a row to see off the Sem.

Those points, scored by Jonathan O'Sullivan, were the best seen at this level for years and worthy of winning any match. They came following his switch from full-forward to midfield, a move that broke Brendan's control in that area.

The victory was all the more meritorious as two of their key players, Paul Kerrigan and Roy Leahy, weren't at their very best. Should both play to their potential on Sunday, the Capwell school would be well on their way to another final.

Coach Mick Evans is looking for all round improvement. "We were very wasteful against Brendans and cannot afford that against ISK," he said.

"If every player strikes form I would be reasonably confident. But, with so much at stake, semi-finals can be very scrappy affairs and I would gladly settle for the win even if we don't play to our potential."

Críost Rí are very strong in defence, with an outstanding goalkeeper in Denis O'Sullivan. Chris Murphy has been superb at full back all season, while outside him, Ray Keating and Jonathan Lane won't be easily beaten.

Apart from the obvious threat of Kerrigan and Leahy up front, Críost Rí also have excellent forwards in Peter McCabe and David Coughlan and the Killorglin defence can expect a difficult hour.

ISK mentor Frank Walsh says its been four years since the schools last met in the championship, when victory went to his side.

"From reports we are up against a very good Críost Rí side on Sunday. But while our team is a bit on the young side, it's a good team and won't be overawed by the Cork lads.

"We got a couple of lucky breaks against Douglas in the quarter-final, particularly with the two goals, and we'll have to improve on our finishing is we are to have any chance."

Killorglin will field two of last year's Kerry minor team in Ciaran Kelleher and Darren O'Sullivan, along with two of this year's squad, Raymond O'Connor and James O'Reilly.

There is sufficient talent in that quartet to trouble Críost Rí, but they'll have to be at their very best to deny the Capwell side.

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