Saturday February 16th in Pairc Uí Rinn at 2.00pm
One thing is certain, the “Harty Cup” will reside in Cork for the coming season. Whether it will be Christian Brothers College for a first time or in Midleton for a 4th time remains to be seen. What is certain is that both teams are in the final on merit and going on form there would seem to be little to choose between them.
Last year CBC were defeated by Ard Scoil Ris in the semi-final after putting up a good display and with several of that side available again CBC are in this contest with more than a good chance of success. Midleton CBS went one better, reaching the final, but they suffered a heavy defeat, so they too will have plenty of incentive to make up for last year’s disappointing defeat.
No two years are the same and with the age limit changing this season, it has benefited both sides. Midleton CBS have rode their luck on more than one occasion this year, so perhaps this is their turn to shine. The same can be said of CBC to a degree as this side has been together for four seasons and contains several exciting hurlers. To have this primarily “Rugby” School back in a final is testament to the hard work put in on the training pitch and make no mistake about it CBC are in this final on merit. They have produced some terrific displays along the way, defeating Thurles CBS in the semi-final and also beating them in the group stage.
Midleton too have hit the heights on occasion, running up a few big scores, but they will need to improve on their semi-final display if they are to capture the famous trophy for a 4th time. Certainly, if Midleton are as wasteful again in attack, they could pay the penalty, and a much sharper display from the forward division will be needed to claim the title this time round.
Both sides are littered with up and coming stars, some already well known such as Blarney trio Shane Barrett, Declan Hanlon and Paddy Power, Jack Calahane from St Finbarrs, Kevin Finn from Midleton and Iarlaith and Carach Daly from Lismore in Waterford all lining out in the CBC colours.
Midleton CBS too have plenty of talent in their side with Midleton providing five to the starting line up with Kiltha Óg and Killeagh providing four players each to the side, among them goalkeeper Jack McGann, Ciaran Joyce and Ryan McCarthy who got the winning goal against De La Salle in the semi-final. Cathal Hickey from Lisgoold has featured with Cork while Joe Stack from Castlemartyr is another well-known star in East Cork. Sam Quirke, Gary Carroll, Kian Farmer, Cian O’Brien and Ross O’Regan are members of the successful Midleton minor hurling side, so they should be well used to the big day. Last year nerves certainly played a part as did the brilliance of Ard Scoil Ris on the day. This time round Midleton will be hoping for a much better display and with a huge crowd likely for the game we should be in for a cracking contest.
Who will win is the 64-dollar question and honestly it is very hard to pick a winner? CBC have improved steadily throughout the campaign and are now a very serious outfit. Midleton on the other hand have been a bit hit and miss and while they tend to win a lot of possession, they certainly waste an amount due to poor finishing. If Midleton can be a bit more efficient in attack, I think they can get the scores needed to win this contest. CBC will be a hard nut to crack and they will want to get their name on the trophy for the very first time. That in itself is huge motivation if harnessed correctly, so if Midleton CBS are to triumph they will need to turn in a top class display and perhaps have that little bit of luck needed to win big games.
Midleton CBS do provide a huge goal threat and if Joe Stack, Jason Hankard or Ross O’Regan get a sight at goal, they will go for it. I think that Midleton CBS will have learned from last year and this time around they can come out on top in what I expect to be a top-class game of hurling. CBC have scored more goals than Midleton on their way to this final, but the Midleton defence have proved a tough nut to crack, especially in recent games, so it really is anybody’s game and should be well worth a visit as many stars of the future will be in action.
Possible Line outs:
C Long (Glen Rovers); C Murphy (Sarsfields), D Barry (Sarsfields), P Hennessy (Mallow); G Mulcahy (Glen Rovers), I Daly (Lismore), C O’Donovan (Douglas); D Hanlon (Blarney), K Finn (Midleton); S Barrett (Blarney, Capt), N Hartnett (Douglas), P Power (Blarney); O’McCarthy (Inniscarra), P McBarron (Carrigaline), J Cahalane (St Finbarr’s).
Subs likely to get a call up:
J O’Kelly (St Finbarr’s) C Daly (Lismore) J Scally (Bishopstown)
J McGann (Kiltha Óg), C O’Brien (Midleton), D Hogan (Killeagh), D Healy (Kiltha Óg), R Landers (Killeagh), C Joyce (Kiltha Óg), D Moran (Kiltha Óg), R McCarthy (Killeagh), S Quirke (Midleton), G Carroll (Midleton), C Hickey (Lisgoold), R O’Regan (Midleton), K Farmer (Midleton), J Stack (Kiltha Óg), J Hankard (Fr O’Neills).