It’s a straight knockout from here on, and expect serious competition as a result, with holders Tralee CBS, St Brendan's and St Fachtna’s most likely to join Críost Rí in the penultimate rounds.
Tralee won’t be taking any chances with Flannan’s (Glin, 1.30pm) given what happened the last occasion they met the Ennis College at the same venue in the championship.
A highly-rated Tralee looked to be heading to a comfortable victory but Flannan’s put in a storming second half to cause a massive shock, and the Ennis college won’t have any fears.
Tralee breezed through the Round Robin series winning their two games with ease and chalking up three goals and 17 points in the process. They will be expected to have matters all their own way in this game with county minors such as Barry Shanahan, Wayne Guthrie, Shane Carroll and scorer-in-chief Barry John Keane with 1-17 so far.
St Flannan’s have outscored their opponents in their two outings to date, registering 4-19. While they don’t have any star players, they more than make up for that with their work ethic.
With their hurlers gone out of the Harty Cup, the Ennis college have been able to concentrate totally on the big ball game.
They have excellent players in Darren Malone, PG O’Donnell, Kevin Moynihan, Dean Ryan and Padraig McMahon but will have to produce something special to dethrone the champions.
The inclusion of new Kerry county senior captain Paul Galvin as a member of the Brendan’s coaching team, should ensure the Sem stay on course for a semi-final spot against Coláiste Choilm at Kilmichael (1.30pm).
They have been hugely impressive in their Round Robin games and with a victory over Tralee in the Kerry colleges final, it’s hard to see them slipping up.
County minors Bryan Russell, James O’Donoghue, Cian Tobin and Chris O’Leary will spearhead the challenge, but they won’t have matters their own way against the Ballincollig school.
However if Coláiste Choilm are to have any chance, they must tighten up in defence. They leaked four goals in their previous outing and cannot afford a repeat against Brendan’s.
They possess some excellent players in Cork minor Ciaran Sheehan, Kealin Hickey, Liam Jennings and John Paul Murphy while Coláiste Chríost Rí await the winners in the semi-final.
The third quarter-final sees Chorca Dhuibhne take on St Fachtna’s at the Legion Pitch in Killarney (1.30pm).
After being on the wrong end of a drubbing by Tralee CBS in round one, Fachtna’s bounced back to see off the challenge of Coláiste na Sceilge in round two.
The Skibbereen side can point to being without a number of first-choice players for the game against the Green due to a county championship match, and their form against Coláiste na Sceilge with a full compliment suggests they won’t be a pushover.
Clive Sweetman, Ronan Whelton, Rob McCarthy, Alan Holland and Donal Hodnett should ensure the West Cork side have a big say in the outcome, but Dingle, who had it far too easy in their previous outing against Limerick Colleges, will have to be at their very best to get the result.
Colm Moriarty, Joe Sheehy, Darragh O’Sullivan and Paul Geaney, who is Dingle’s top scorer, should ensure they don’t go down without a fight. It will be interesting to see what improvement former Kerry maestro Páidí Ó Sé, who has been lending a hand with the coaching, has made to their team.
On Friday, Thurles CBS meet Our Lady’s in a Harty Cup replay at The Ragg (1.30pm).
Two superbly prepared and highly talented teams should draw another huge crowd to this excellent venue. A lack of discipline by the Thurles defence probably cost them the game last week. T, they gave away far too many frees to Noel McGrath, who scored 0-9 from placed balls,. The flip side is that Our Lady’s are too reliant on McGrath for scores, so the other forwards will have to deliver on this occasion if they are to make it to the semi-finals.