With the countdown well underway to the Munster Championship semi-finals and Cork players exempt from club activity this weekend, the concentration is on the Intermediate grade and there are some attractive games down for decision.
Premier Intermediate Hurling
Blarney v Castlelyons Friday in Riverstown @ 7.30pm
Justin Mc Carthy’s re-introduction to club hurling in Cork has been guiding the fortunes of Castlelyons who have produced a number of excellent players from under-age in the last few years and Justin might just be the man to take them to a new level.
The Spillane brothers will have Ciaran Mc Gann and Timmy Mc Carthy to help them as well and they could make an impact in this championship.
Blarney though represents a tough test for the East Cork side and with Joe Jordan, James Hughes and Darragh Mc Sweeney still a force to be reckoned with they might have a bit more experience for Castlelyons.
Ballincollig v Kilbrittain Saturday in Brinny @ 7.30pm
A hard one to call here as both these sides are evenly matched and have enjoyed mixed results in this championship recently, but you would expect that with a strong under-age section Ballincollig should be doing better.
The win in the football championship will have helped and a consistent 60 minutes is also required as Jamie Wall, Owen Sexton and Ross Cashman are key players for Kilbrittain, who might just shade this one.
Watergrasshill v Youghal Saturday in Killeagh @ 7.30pm
Local derbies always pop up in this grade and this is one that should produce a fairly lively contest.
Youghal had a good run to the final last year and with the bulk of that panel still available they will be keen to go one better this time round, although Bill Cooper’s absence weakens their attack, but they still should have enough in hand to take the direct route to round 4.
Valley Rovers v Inniscarra Sunday in Cloughduv @ 2.30pm
The Rover’s had a tough campaign last year and have been badly hit with the loss of key players recently and in the face of such difficulties it is to their credit that they have retained their status at this level.
Inniscarra have encountered similar problems with players departing, to be fair what club has not, whichever side can cope better with these problems will probably win this clash and with a good football win behind them the odds favour Valley’s to win.
Bandon v Aghabullogue Sunday in Cloughduv @ 4.15pm
A big day for Bandon as they debut in this Championship and with Teddy Mac still patrolling the sidelines they will enter this game in confident mood.
The Crowley’s and Mark Sugrue are quality players and while Aghabullogue are always hard to beat, Bandon look better balanced and should progress.
Cork v Tipperary Under 21 quarter-final Wednesday Pairc Ui Chaoimh @ 7.30pm
With the senior sides set to collide in the ‘Park in a few weeks time an opportunity to lay down a marker in advance of that clash and a vital game for Cork given that the minor’s are gone and also a chance to boost our under-age record particularly in this grade.
It’s fair to say that we could and possibly should have won last year’s Munster title and did record an excellent win in Thurles over Wednesday’s opposition.
As ever with this grade preparation has been difficult but there is still a strong side on duty including Eoin O’Sullivan, Damien Cahalane, Conor Lehane and Dean Brosnan.
Home advantage is always a help at under-age level and with the boost of last season’s win Cork might just have enough in hand to make it to the last four of a very tough championship.