We were impressed with how Blackrock went about their business in the semi-final victory against Na Piarsaigh.
Not since the end of May had we seen them in action and, on that occasion, they had been largely unimpressive when falling over Bandon after extra-time in round two.
Against Na Piarsaigh, they were tenacious, workmanlike and economical in front of goal. It is too often taken for granted but they did the basics very well.
Moreover, they had a plan — play the flanks at every opportunity to nullify the impact of Na Piarsaigh centre-back Christopher Joyce — which they executed superbly.
They’re going to have to have some sort of a plan for both Seamus Harnedy and Paudie O’Sullivan.
The extent to which this pair influence the collective cannot be overstated. Blackrock midfielder Stephen Murphy put many a decent forward in his pocket during his corner-back days with Cork IT in the Fitzgibbon Cup and so don’t be surprised if the Rockies captain drops back to pick up Harnedy on the wing.
Much has been made — and rightly so — of Imokilly’s defensive difficulties and the number of goals they’ve conceded.
That has taken, however, from the tallies they’ve been posting at the other end. Against Sars and Erin’s Own, they averaged 2-20 a game.
Cork minor Ger Millerick was thrown in at midfield for his first start in the replay against Sars. He more than held his own and should again get the nod.
The other Cork minor drafted into the squad after their All-Ireland campaign finished up is Lisgoold’s Liam O’Shea. He’s a talented forward to be springing off the bench with a quarter of an hour remaining.
We’ve heard mention of tradition on several occasions this week. Yes, Blackrock have 32 titles and yes, Imokilly have only two. Tradition, though, or their silverware-laden past won’t get Blackrock over the line — David Cashman is the sole player to have started the semi-final who featured when Blackrock won the county in 2002. We’re not expecting that 15-year gap to be bridged today.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved