Corn Uí Mhuirí preview: Roco hoping to overcome injury issues to reach final

Saturday afternoon's semi-finals include a Cork and a Kerry derby
Corn Uí Mhuirí preview: Roco hoping to overcome injury issues to reach final

FOUR BECOMES TWO: St. Francis College, Rochestown's Donnacha O'Callaghan looking for a way past James Hegarty of St. Flannan’s College in the Corn Uí Mhuirí at Mallow. Pic: Denis Minihane

On either side of the Cork and Kerry border, two huge Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-finals will commence at the same time on Saturday afternoon.

In the Rebel County, there is an all-Cork clash as Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown take on St Francis College, Rochestown in Mallow at 1pm.

Spioraid Naoimh will be looking to continue their excellent run on their return to the Under 19 A Football Championship – this is their first season at this level since 2011/12 - by reaching the showpiece occasion.

They have been impressive thus far, topping their group with a 100% record before they defeated Skibbereen Community School 2-12 to 1-8 in the quarter-final showdown on the 4G pitch at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

An inspiring performance from Ballinhassig dual player Adam O’Sullivan - he notched 2-5 on the day with only one of those scores coming from a free - helped them emerge victorious in style.

They may need something similar from the forward today as they meet a talented St Francis College, Rochestown squad, who are fresh from their own commanding 1-10 to 1-4 triumph over St Flannan’s College Ennis in the last eight.

It shows the strength and depth of the squad that Roco achieved that feat without the 2022 Munster minor footballer of the year Brian Hayes, the 2022 Cork county minor final top-scorer Harry Quilligan and the talented Micheál O’Mahony.

They will have to make do without the trio again this weekend but their selector Eoghan Buckley is confident that they can cope.

“We have a few injuries,” Buckley tells the Irish Examiner.

“Three of our best forwards are out with long term injuries, they have been out since before Christmas but it is an opportunity for three more to step up and they didn’t leave us down the last day.

“We have had very good preparation to be honest. The lads are in great form, they are looking forward to the game and they know there is a big challenge ahead against CSN.

“They (CSN) were very impressive against Skibbereen and they attacked very, very well. They get numbers forward in attack and they defend very, very well also so it’s clear they are very well coached.

“They are young, enthusiastic, full of energy and they are all very good footballers so we know we have a big challenge on our hands.

“But if we play to our potential we should definitely be there or thereabouts. It’s all about how you turn up on the day and the team that starts better will probably be the team to come out on top. We have a great chance.”

Meanwhile in the Kingdom, there is an all Kerry clash as Mercy Mounthawk, Tralee take on St Brendan’s College, Killarney at Fitzgerald Stadium at 1pm.

St Brendan’s - the holders and record 23 time winners of this cup - will be playing close to home and backed by their vocal support, they will be confident they can build on their excellent 2-16 to 0-11 win over Hamilton High School, Bandon in the previous round.

But Mounthawk won’t be just making up the numbers and with Paddy Lane – scorer of a hat-trick in their 3-14 to 0-16 quarter-final win over Clonakilty CC – in their ranks, they’ll be hopeful of causing an upset in their first ever semi-final appearance.

Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-finals

Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown v St Francis College, Rochestown, Mallow, 1pm.

Mercy Mounthawk, Tralee v St Brendan’s College, Killarney, Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney, 1pm.

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