Former champions battle for Harty spots

THE last three Dr Harty Cup quarter-finalists will be determined today with crunch games in Ardmore, Clonmel, Tipperary Town and Cahir.

In Group A, De La Salle (Waterford), champions in 2007 and 2008, face Coláiste Chríost Rí (Ardmore, 2.30pm) with the winners advancing to the knockout stages.

Waterford minors Darragh Flynn and Adam O’Sullivan spearhead the De La Salle challenge, and they should prevail against a Cork outfit backboned by Alan Nolan, Eoin Smith and Enda Dennehy.

Champions Ardscoil Rís have already qualified for the last eight, with Jamie Shanahan, Jack Kelliher and Barry O’Connell in excellent form. They should maintain their unbeaten record against Charleville CBS, who can call on Conor Twomey and Pa O’Callaghan, in a repeat of last year’s final in Bruff.

In Group B, the meeting of two former champions in Thurles CBS and St Colman’s (Fermoy) in Clonmel is an intriguing tie. Thurles CBS, who have leading players in Stephen Cahill, Ciaran Quirke and Pat Ralph, got their campaign back on track with victory over Blackwater CS. St Colman’s have a powerful defence with Colm Barry and Colm Spillane both Cork minors this year while Daniel Mangan is their main attacker. The Tipp men start favourites.

Blackwater CS have an outside chance of qualifying but must defeat St Flannan’s (Ennis), who have already reached the quarter-finals, in Tipperary Town today and hope the tie in Clonmel finishes in a draw or is won by St Colman’s, and that scoring difference falls in their favour.

Finally in Group C, the clash between Coláiste na nDéise and Our Lady’s Templemore in Cahir is the main game. Coláiste na nDéise were 25-point winners over St Caimin’s (Shannon) last time out and have talented players in Cathal Curran and Tadhg Burke. Our Lady’s face a tough task and will look to Tipperary minor hurler John McGrath and Brian McGrath for inspiration.

The final game in this group is academic with Midleton CBS having already reached the quarter-finals while their opponents St Caimin’s are already out of the running.

On Friday afternoon, Nenagh CBS and Castletroy College face each other in the final clash in Group D with both sides already through to the last eight.

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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