Chasing a first senior provincial title since 2006, Dr Crokes are fancied to advance to a mouth-watering All-Ireland club semi-final against Ulster kingpins Crossmaglen Rangers — but they will be pushed all the way by the free-scoring Cork team that has a strong Kerry influence.
With UCC’s all-Kerry full-forward line of Paul Geaney, Gavin O’Grady and Stephen O’Brien racking up 4-11 in their impressive 5-12 to 1-5 annihilation of Moyle Rovers in the semi-final, on the back of scoring 1-19 in their quarter-final win over Monaleen, the Cork college carries a huge scoring threat.
But the Crokes can boast the attacking talents of Colm Cooper — their saviour in their 0-12 to 0-9 semi-final win over Clare side Kilmurry-Ibrickane — Kieran O’Leary, former UCC player Daithi Casey, Jamie Doolan and Brian Looney.
With Johnny Buckley, who won a Sigerson Cup and Cork county title with UCC this season, and Ambrose O’Donovan forming a strong Crokes midfield pairing, a lot of pressure will be on UCC duo Jamie O’Sullivan and Will Kennedy to break even here.
If UCC can restrict Crokes’ half-back line of Fionn Fitzgerald, Eoin Brosnan and Shane Myers then they will have a great chance to progress.
However, Dr Crokes have the experience and home advantage and these could be key.
Verdict: Dr Crokes