Bandon school can reach semi-finals of the Corn Uí Mhuiri for first-time ever
HAMILTON High School can hit new heights in the Corn Uí Mhuiri by reaching the semi-finals of the competition for the first time.
On current form, you’d have to fancy them to advance to the last four, but manager John O’Sullivan is making sure that the Hammies remain grounded despite their impressive run of results in the group stage.
In their three Group C games, the Bandon school scored 10-38, an average of 23 points per game.
The eye-catching result was their shock 4-8 to 2-10 win against reigning champions Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne in the last round of games.
‘That win was a surprise but it a great confidence boost too,’ O’Sullivan says.
‘We went down there to do ourselves proud and put in a good performance, and everything went our way. We played really well.’
But that same week, the Hammies were knocked out of the Simcox Cup by Patrician Academy, losing 3-17 to 1-11. That was a reminder to this young group to remain focussed and not listen to the hype.
‘The Simcox match would have helped to do that. They will keep their feet on the ground and they are a good bunch of lads so we have no fears,’ O’Sullivan said.
‘We need to forget what’s happened previously and replicate what has won us games so far this season – work-rate, playing as a team, be patient and taking our chances.’
Hammies have shown that their forward line is bursting with scorers. Captain Fionn Herlihy from Sam Maguires leads the way, he has racked up 3-19 in the three games – 1-5 against Chorca Dhuibhne, 1-8 in the 3-17 to 1-12 win against Skibbereen CS and 1-6 in the 3-15 to 2-9 victory against DLS Macroom.
The supporting cast is just as impressive. Valley Rovers’ Adam Walsh-Murphy, Darragh O’Shea and Niall Lawton have all chipped in, Bandon’s Ben Donegan has been in good form, Eoghan McSweeney returned against Chorca Dhuibhne and scored two goals, while Sam Maguires’ Bill Murphy is also in contention for next Wednesday’s quarter-final.
The midfield pairing of Adam Kenneally (Valley Rovers) and Cian McCarthy (St Oliver Plunkett’s) have worked well, and in the defence, Cullan Barry of Sam Maguires, Sean Barry (Valley Rovers), Eoghan Collins (Newcestown), Harry Lillis (Bandon), Tim Twohig (Bandon) and David Muckian (Valley Rovers) have been ever presents in all three games, in front of goalkeeper David Curtin (Ahán Gaels).
‘The core of this team won the U16 B Munster title. This year’s sixth years would have been the younger members of that team,’ O’Sullivan says.
‘All the way up this group of players – including Charlie Lyons who left for England – would have won cups like the O’Herlihy Cup in first year and got to the business end of competitions, a semi-final at U16, won U16 and a half, got to the quarter-final of the Corn Ui Mhuiri last year, and done well in the hurling too. It’s a strong group.’
They’ll need to be at their best in their Corn Ui Mhuiri quarter-final against Clonakilty Community College.
‘Clon will be up for this match so we need to be mentally on the right level. If we play as well as we have done in the group stage, that will give us a chance,’ O’Sullivan says.
‘When you get to this level, whoever you play next will be strong. We are just happy to be there. Clon will know us well. They are experienced. Micheál O’Sullivan is a very experienced coach. It’s going to be tight. But we can take confidence from what we have achieved in the games before.
‘We played well, took our scores, defended well when we needed to. The team was built over those few games.’
Hammies’ win over Chorca Dhuibhne was one of the surprise results of the group stages but now the Bandon school don’t want to become the victim of a surprise result. That win over the West Kerry school will set them up as favourites to beat Clonakilty CC. To do that, they must stay grounded and play the game in front of them. O’Sullivan is confident they can.
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