MUNSTER MFC QUARTER-FINAL
Cork v Kerry
Kerry minor football manager Mickey Ned O’Sullivan insists neither his side nor opponents Cork will be engaging in sharp practice in tonight’s Electric Ireland Munster MFC quarter-final at Páirc Uí Rinn.
The winners of the clash are likely to play Tipperary — winners of the last two provincial titles and favourites to overcome Clare in their quarter-final tomorrow — while the losers would beafforded a second chance and a theoretically easier path to a Munster final.
O’Sullivan is not thinking of the clash with the Rebels in such terms, however.
“Tipp obviously havebecome a major player in minor football in Munster, and they seem to be continuing that,” he said.
“That makes it more competitive, which is good, but I don’t think either ourselves or Cork would be looking at trying to avoid them. Kerry playing Cork would never go out to lose a game, those games take on lives of their own.”
The Corn Uí Mhuirí (Munster Colleges SAFC) final this year was between two Kerry sides, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne of Dingle, who secured back-to-backtitles, while Killarney’s St Brendan’s College contained six of O’Sullivan’s side.
While he welcomes the strong showings by schools in the Kingdom, the manager also admits success is adouble-edged sword in that availability of players for his side was curtailed.
“It’s a very positive sign in that there is a lot of work being done,” he said, “but there is a negative side in that you don’t have those players for training.
“You leave them to the schools, because if you bring them in you burn them out. It was only two weeks ago, after they lost in the All-Ireland, that we got the Corca Dhuibhne lads back in properly.
“It has its problems because they wouldn’t be familiar with what you’re working on then, and they’re also at a different level of preparedness, their work was for immediate games whereas we were looking further down the line.
“I think we’ve been able to integrate them back in though, they’re footballers and they’ll settle again veryquickly.”
Cork have named six dual players in their starting 15, but there was not too muchdifficulty in coming to an arrangement with the hurling management, according to selector Donal O’Sullivan.
“I must compliment [hurling manager] PatKenneally,” he said, “there was great co-operation, he came to an agreement with our manager Ephie Fitzgerald and they set aside certain nights for football and for hurling.
“There was no clash at the end of the day, things worked out fine and we’re delighted that we have fellas playing both, they’re getting fit and it gives them an extra dimension.”
O’Sullivan does admit Tipp’s emergence has changed the landscape, but hopes it can provide inspiration for Cork.
“Tipp’s success is the proof that their underage work is paying off, they had a great record at U14, U15 and U16 and translated that to minor and U21, but the programme has been in place for 10 years.
“That’s what we’re aiming for, you have to prepare for the future, if you don’t, it’s very easy to lapse and go backwards. We haven’t won an All-Ireland minor since 2000 and Kerry haven’t won one since 1994, so that just shows you. We can’t look at that now though, our first objective is to win Munster.”
CORK: A Casey (Kiskeam); M McSweeney (Newcestown), K Histon (Cobh), N Hayes (Kilmacabea); K O’Neill (Glenville), S Cronin (Nemo Rangers), R Cahalane (Sliabh Rua); P O’Neill (Ballincollig), R Harkin (Mallow); D O’Driscoll (Clann nan Gael), K O’Connor (Mallow), K Cremin (Boherbue); C O’Driscoll (Mizen Rovers), M Cahalane (Bandon), J Bushe (Ilen Rovers).
KERRY: S Ryan (Rathmore), ST Dillon (St Senan’s), C Ó Lúing (An Ghaeltacht), P Ó Conchúir (Dingle); M Flaherty (Dingle), G Horan (Austin Stacks), B Sugrue (Renard); É Ó Conchúir (An Ghaeltacht), B O’Sullivan (Dingle); D Foran (St Senan’s), J Savage (Kerins O’Rahillys), T Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht); C Keane (Legion), S O’Connor (John Mitchels), K Spillane (Templenoe).