Thurles and Templemore set for thrilling Tipperary derby

WHILE hurling folk will welcome the return of the Dr Harty Cup after the Christmas recess, the pity is the three quarter-finals which have survived the weather so far are all down for decision this afternoon. Followers would love to see all games, but with fixture deadlines to be met, that is not possible.

Topping the bill is the all-Tipperary clash of Thurles CBS and Our Lady’s at The Ragg. These two schools have developed a tremendous rivalry over the years, and if last year’s two games at the same stage are any guide, then followers are in for another treat.

The football fraternity are not forgotten about either. One quarter-final of the Corn Uí Mhuirí is also down for decision this afternoon: the all-Cork clash of Coláiste Chríost Rí and Glanmire CS at Lough Rovers’ grounds.

Dr Harty Cup quarter-finals

Thurles CBS v Templemore CBS

The Ragg, 1.30pm

These two schools served up classics when they met at the same stage in last year’s championship, when it took a replay to decide the issue. Thurles eventually came through but couldn’t make it to the final, failing to DLS Waterford at the penultimate stage.

It’s a tribute to the work being done in the school that they are back in the knockout stages with over half of last year’s side available.

Thurles’s form to date has been excellent and with three All-Ireland medal winners, Kevin O’Gorman, John O’Neill and James Barry in their side, Our Lady’s will have to be at their very best to turn the tables.

The Templemore school won last year’s Dean Ryan Cup, which is always a yardstick for senior level the following year. County team-mates will be in opposition to add more spice to the game. Noel McGrath who is being spoken of as a future Tipp senior, has won two All-Ireland medals already and is in line for a third this year.

He will give Our Lady’s the advantage in midfield. Kevin McGrath, Willie Donnelly and Aidan Fogarty are others who will make it difficult for Thurles, and it could be Templemore’s turn to win the bragging rights.

Nenagh CBS v West Waterford College

Kilsheelan, 2pm

The strength of underage hurling in Tipperary is seen by the inclusion of a third team in the Harty Cup. Backboned by several county minors, Nenagh could be the dark horses.

They topped their group in the Round Robin series with seven points out of eight, and if they can maintain their form, they will be difficult to beat. Paddy Murphy, David Nolan, Rory Whelan and John Sheedy will lead the Nenagh challenge, which should be just about good enough, despite the best efforts of Maurice Shanahan (younger brother of Dan), Karl Duggan and Kieran Geary to keep the Waterford college in the title race.

Árd Scoil Rís v Doon CBS

Croagh, 1.15pm

Another team with serious Harty ambitions are Árd School Rís. Physically strong, they draw players from both Limerick and Clare and must be fancied to advance.

They include the towering Darach Horan who will be in All-Ireland club action at the weekend with Clonlara, Tom O’Brien and Barry Hennessy, and with Limerick senior Niall Moran lending a hand from the sideline, it’s hard to see them losing. However Doon have been at this level before and know what it takes. Eamon Gleeson, Jerry O’Neill, Mike Treacy and Liam Reale are excellent hurlers, and they won’t go down without a fight.

Corn Ui Mhuirí quarter-final

CC Rí v Glanmire CS

Lough Pitch, 1.30pm.

This football tie is brought forward to facilitate the Capwell school with a hurling game the following week. These sides met in the Simcox final towards the end of last year’s college’s season and Glanmire won, and Críost Rí will see this game as the perfect chance to make amends. However they will have to be on top of their game as Glanmire, with excellent players in Cillian Brosnan, Stephen Crowley and Conor Murphy, won’t be a pushover.

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