Cork football semi-final previews: 'Collig look to upset Nemo, who wins Haven-Barrs trilogy?

Eoghan Cormican previews the weekend's football action in Cork
Cork football semi-final previews: 'Collig look to upset Nemo, who wins Haven-Barrs trilogy?

ALL TO PLAY FOR: Harry Canning, CEO Bon Secours Cork (centre) with, Micheal Aoda Martin, Nemo Rangers and Luke Fahy, Ballincollig, at the Bon Secours Cork Premier Senior Football Championship 2022, Semi Final lineup, at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

SATURDAY 

Cork Premier IFC semi-finals 

Bantry Blues v Iveleary, Dunmanway (A O’Connor), 4pm 

Ruairi Deane, Arthur Coakley, and young Paddy Cronin are the in-form players Bantry will hope can move the West Cork club to within one hour of the swiftest of returns to the Senior A ranks. They’ll also be hoping the four-week lay-off hasn’t taken the wind out of their sails. Iveleary are chasing a third county final appearance - at three different grades - in the space of 13 months. Their two leading actors - Cathal Vaughan and Chris Óg Jones - are among the championship’s highest scorers with 0-24 and 3-6 respectively. Can Bantry quieten them?

Verdict: Iveleary 

Kanturk v Cill na Martra, Mallow (J Bermingham), 4pm 

A repeat of the 2020 semi-final which Kanturk won by the minimum. Where Kanturk have lost the last two county finals at this grade, their opponents have been beaten semi-finalists in 2020 and 21. The four-week gap to their last outing shouldn’t have done Kanturk any harm given the number of dual players in their panel and the busy schedule they have had to navigate. Cill na Martra will look to the same men who inspired their quarter-final rout of Aghada, namely Micheál Ó Deasúna, Damien Ó hUrdail, and Dan Ó Duinnín.

Verdict: Kanturk 

Cork Intermediate AFC semi-finals 

Mitchelstown v Kilshannig, Fermoy (C Dineen), 2pm 

A repeat of last year’s semi-final which Mitchelstown shaded by the minimum. Kilshannig, it must be noted, were without Cork midfielder Killian O’Hanlon that day. If O’Hanlon and Kilshannig are to reverse last year’s result, they will need to tie down the championship’s top-scorer, Cathail O’Mahony.

Verdict: Mitchelstown 

Boherbue v Aghabullogue, Millstreet (R Whelan), 4pm 

Aghabullogue are bidding to avoid back-to-back semi-final defeats, whereas Boherbue are chasing back-to-back promotions. The latter must prioritise the curtailing of Aghabullogue’s David Thompson who kicked 2-5 in his team’s quarter-final victory.

Verdict: Aghabullogue 

Cork Senior AFC semi-finals 

St Michael’s v O’Donovan Rossa, Páirc Uí Chaoimh (J Ryan), 5pm 

These two produced a 3-13 to 3-12 shootout in the 2020 group stages, which O’Donovan Rossa came out on the right side of, and we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this evening’s game is another open affair. Michael’s will know that if they can police Kevin Davis and Donal Óg Hodnett then they stand an excellent chance of reaching a fifth second-tier final in six years. Whereas for Skibbereen, the attacking threat they must manage is more numerous and balanced, covering as it does Adam Hennessy, Keith Hegarty, Robbie Cotter, Eric Hegarty, and Andrew Murphy.

Verdict: St Michael’s 

Knocknagree v Clyda Rovers, Páirc Uí Chaoimh (P O’Driscoll), 7pm 

Given that Clyda finished the group phase with a confidence-lifting win over O’Donovan Rossa, the prize of direct passage to the semis and the four-week break that brought possibly had the effect of stalling their group stage momentum. They’ll look to Paudie Kissane, Conor Corbett, Dan O’Callaghan, and Eoin Walsh to get them back up to those heights this evening. One side with momentum behind them is Knocknagree. Kealan Buckley, Daniel O’Mahony, Michael Mahoney, and David O’Connor are among the pillars of this team, and they will be hoping they can get more than the four minutes they got out of another pillar, Eoghan McSweeney, in the quarter-final.

Verdict: Knocknagree 

SUNDAY

Cork Premier SFC semi-finals 

Nemo Rangers v Ballincollig, Páirc Uí Chaoimh (A Long), 2pm 

Nemo won’t find themselves wrapped in any defensive blanket here. That’s simply not Ballincollig’s style. But given the five goals Ballincollig were taken for in the 2020 quarter-final against Nemo, Podsie O’Mahony will have drilled into his charges the importance of keeping structure and shape so as to prevent them being so naively caught on this occasion. Darren Murphy and Cian Dorgan kicked 4-7 between them in Ballincollig’s quarter-final win over Carbery. The pair obviously need to be monitored, but more effective would be stopping the men who are feeding them possession, the likes of the Kiely’s, Cian and Sean, and Luke Fahy.

Not since the first half of their Castlehaven group win on August 13 have Nemo looked like Nemo. They need to rediscover a bit of form and a bit of oomph, and quickly. But the deep reserves of experience and nous in their ranks means we are going to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Verdict: Nemo Rangers 

St Finbarr’s v Castlehaven, Páirc Uí Chaoimh (C Lane), 4pm 

The familiarity between these two should leave little room for surprises. Castlehaven’s Rory Maguire should stand beside his Cork teammate and Barrs talisman Steven Sherlock, while Damien Cahalane will likely shadow his Barrs hurling teammate Brian Hayes. Up the other end, if Brian Hurley is again stationed in the half-forward line, and not inside, then he will have Billy Hennessy for company, while his usual dance partner in Barrs-Haven games, Sam Ryan, will pick up his brother Michael. The Barrs will also need to have planned for lively corner-forward Cathal Maguire. How they approach Mark Collins will be interesting given the Haven captain’s typically roaming role.

This third semi-final installment will once again be incredibly tight, and while the Barrs have not been tested this year, we’re giving them the nod to keep the blue double alive.

Verdict: St Finbarr’s

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