picks out eight players to watch from Wednesday's Harty Cup quarter-finalists.
A Tipperary minor last year while still only 15, Leamy starred as Thurles – last champions in 2015 – romped through their group with a 100 percent record, with an average winning margin of nearly 11 points per game.
Leamy starred on the Thurles side that won the Dean Ryan Cup (Munster U16½AHC) in 2018-19 as well as featuring on the Harty panel and he has slotted in comfortably at wing-forward alongside Devon Ryan and Eoin Purcell.
The three-year Harty veteran is a busy man right now as he is on the Borris-Ileigh team that reached the All-Ireland club final on Sunday and his performances in the group stages were befitting of someone of his status.
To the fore as Our Lady’s finished second in their group behind Cork’s CBC and they will look for a big performance from him in Wednesday’s all-Tipperary affair with Thurles.
St Flannan’s – still at the top of the Harty roll of honour with 21 wins, albeit without a title since 2005 – topped Group B with three wins but they needed to dig deep to be sure of that, overcoming Gaelcholáiste Mhuire of Cork in their final match on a scoreline of 0-13 to 1-9, despite playing three-quarters of the game with 14 men. That they emerged victorious was down largely to the influence of Galvin at centre-back, underlining why he had been named on the Electric Ireland Minor All-Star Hurling Team for his performances with Clare.
With Midleton CBS having beaten Hamilton HS and St Joseph’s to top the three-team Group D, the meeting of the Bandon and Tulla schools was a quarter-final play-off. Hamilton led for much of the game before a late Tulla burst saw them earn a draw to qualify on scoring difference.
The third of Seán Withycombe’s points was the crucial score for the Clare school but they had been kept in the game by the unerring accuracy of Keogh, who accounted for 11 points from frees and that will be a vital asset in the Clare derby.
The first Cork school to defend the Harty since 2006-07 had a fairly serene passage through the group stages and McCarthy, one of six survivors from the final win over CBC a year ago, has carried on his fine form. The Killeagh man is ultra-reliable from dead balls, scoring 0-13 against the Hammies and 1-6 against Tulla. It’s not just a one-man show though as Midleton are able to call upon a number of other forwards who can score, such as Cathal Hickey and Noel Cahill.
Having opened with a big win over Gaelcholáiste Mhuire, a loss to St Flannan’s put De La Salle under pressure before their final group game against fellow Waterford side Blackwater CS at the Gold Coast Resort. When it mattered, they triumphed on a 0-12 to 1-6 scoreline and had Cummins to thank for providing five of those points.
The younger brother of Damien and Conor was a dual Cork minor last year, earning an All-Ireland minor medal, while he was also a key part of the Christians team that made the Harty final for the final time in a century. He scored 11 points as they began with a win over Rochestown and was influential as they beat Templemore and drew with Ardscoil Rís to earn a quarter-final spot.
Having shipped a defeat to Thurles in their opener, Colman’s were under pressure to make the knockout stages but they bounced back well by overcoming Nenagh CBS and then John The Baptist CS of Hospital to earn the runners-up spot in Group A. The latter was a 0-15 to 0-6 win in late November, with O’Leary central to the strong defensive effort as well as getting forward for a fine individual score.
Harty Cup quarter-final fixtures
Thurles CBS v Our Lady's Templemore, The Ragg;
St Flannan's College Ennis v St Joseph's Tulla, Cusack Park;
CBS Midleton v De La Salle College Waterford, Fraher Field;
Christian Brothers College Cork v Coláiste Cholmáin Fermoy, Watergrasshill.