BY KIERAN McCARTHY
THERE are two common denominators between Clonakilty Community College and Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne ahead of Saturday’s Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-final in Knocknagree – both teams have played and beaten Tralee CBS and Intermediate School Killorglin in this season’s competition.
In Group A, Clonakilty defeated Tralee (4-7 to 1-9) before beating Killorglin (1-13 to 1-5) in the quarter-final, while Chorca Dhuibhne got the better of Killorglin (4-16 to 1-9) in Group D before dispatching Tralee CBS in their quarter-final (2-10 to 1-3).
Bringing maths into this, Clonakilty had a combined total of 15 points to spare over both Tralee and Killorglin, while the Dingle school won by a combined total of 26 points against their Kerry rivals.
What those statistics also highlight is Chorca Dhuibhne’s scoring power and in their three games (two group matches and a quarter-final) they have racked up 6-40, an average of 0-19 per match, and conceded only 3-15 in total, an average of 0-8 per game. Impressive stats, whichever way you look at them.
Clonakilty CC, meanwhile, have scored 7-49 in their four games (0-18 per game), and conceded 6-33 (0-13 per match), so while both teams are high scoring, from these stats the Kerry school has a tighter defence.
Considering that Chorca Dhuibhne are reigning All-Ireland champions (Hogan Cup), are going for their fourth Corn Uí Mhuirí in a row, and have retained almost half of the team that started last year’s Hogan Cup final win against St Pat’s they will start as favourites against a Clonakilty CC side that is in just its second year in this competition and is at this stage of the Corn Uí Mhuirí for the first-time ever.
Clonakilty have nothing to lose here, all the pressure and expectation is on Chorca Dhuibhne to advance to the final, against either Rochestown or St Brendan’s. It’s the ideal place for Clonakilty to be in.
If Clonakilty can replicate the fast start they had against Killorglin in the last round, and if the ball can be fed into Cork minor Sean McEvoy (Clonakilty), Thomas Scannell (Kilmeen), Cork minor David Lowney (Clonakilty), Ross Mannix (Clonakilty), Darren Santry (Kilmeen) and Dylan Scannell (St Mary’s), there is enough scoring power here to cause the West Kerry school problems.
At different stages in all games, Clon’s forwards have come up trumps – Mannix scoring a hat-trick against Tralee CBS, McEvoy scoring 0-6 against Killorglin, Thomas Scannell grabbing a crucial goal against Killorglin, and so on.
Clonakilty’s midfield pairing of Sean Ryan (Ballinascarthy) and Cork minor Mark White (Clonakilty) have combined well so far, and will need to turn in another solid showing against the Kerry side in Knocknagree this Saturday.
It’s been an adventure for Clonakilty CC in their second year competing in the Corn Uí Mhuirí and they have already shown their steel in several games so far – coming from 1-4 to 0-1 behind against Macroom to win, for example – so while Chorca Dhuibhne are rightly favourites to win, the West Cork lads can push them all the way.