HAMILTON High School caused the shock of the opening round of this season’s Corn Uí Mhuiri when they hammered the reigning champions – and they now need to scale those lofty heights again to keep their Munster title bid alive.
Back in late October the Bandon school thrashed Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne of Dingle by 4-14 to 0-5 in their opening Group A. That result announced their arrival in this year’s competition. They followed up with wins against Mercy Mounthawk Tralee (4-15 to 2-8) and Coláiste Choilm Ballincollig (1-8 to 0-7) as the Hammies topped the group.
Their reward is a quarter-final against Group D runners-up Tralee CBS this Wednesday in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney at 1pm, though Hammies manager Rob Honohan is wary of the Kerry school’s challenge.
‘They finished second in their group behind St Brendan’s College Killarney, who would be seen as the favourites, but Tralee only lost that by one point (1-17 to 2-13) and were leading up until the end,’ Honohan noted, as the Sem kicked five unanswered points in the closing stages to snatch the win and top spot.
With that in mind, the management team of Honohan and John O’Sullivan know that their side needs to bring their A game to this quarter-final. That means reproducing the quality of football they showed in that annihilation of Dingle – that was the Hammies’ best performance in the competition and they need to reach those top gears again.
‘We played very well against Dingle. They were poor on the day but we did play very well,’ Honohan said.
‘The big thing is that we topped the group and won all our games but our form was patchy enough after the Dingle game, we played some good stuff after that but it was in fits and starts in games.’
A more consistent display is needed against Tralee CBS but these Hammies players know it’s in them. They showed it against Dingle, and now they need to show it again.
‘The performance is in them, we know it is and they do too, and we need to get that out of them. We know we need to produce now, otherwise we will be knocked out,’ Honohan stressed.
‘Fellas need to be properly tuned in, play with energy, hold the ball better and make the right decisions on the ball, because we are good enough to get to a semi-final – and the school has never been to a Corn Uí Mhuiri semi-final before.’
The tight match with Coláiste Choilm that Hammies won thanks to a second-half goal from sub Richard O’Sullivan was just the type of game they needed in late November to stay grounded. It showed they have work to do to stay involved until the business end of this competition. But they know they have the quality.
With the likes of Tim Twohig (Bandon), Colm O’Donovan (Newcestown), Eoghan Collins (Newcestown), Sean Sexton (Kilbrittain), Aaron O’Leary (Valley Rovers), Adam Kenneally (Valley Rovers), Adam Walsh Murphy (Valley Rovers), Darragh O’Shea (Valley Rovers), Darren O’Donovan (St Mary’s), Donal Ó Buachalla (Ibane Gaels) and Brian Hoey (Valley Rovers) all instrumental in Hammies’ progression to this stage, the talent is there. Of the younger guns, Ciarán McCarthy and Richard O’Sullivan are in with the Cork minors.
The Hammies have averaged 0-21 per game so far in the Corn Uí Mhuiri, but Tralee CBS have averaged 0-24 per game and have racked up big scores. This is a challenge for the Bandon school and if they are serious about getting to the last four they need to show it and raise their game.
The full Corn Uí Mhuiri quarter-final draw is: 1) Hamilton HS Bandon v Tralee CBS; 2) PS Rathmore v Coláiste Choilm Ballincollig; 3) St Brendan’s College Killarney v St Flannans Ennis; 4) St Francis College Rochestown v Clonakilty Community College. Semi-finals: 1 v 2; 3 v 4