THE four quarter-finals of the Clona Milk South West U21 B football championship will take place this weekend.
The ties between Kilbrittain and Clann na nGael, and Mathúnas and Kilmacabea were postponed last weekend, but both will now take place this Saturday instead.
Kilbrittain have decided to step up from the ‘C’ championship despite losing twice in that competition last season, and they meet a Clann na nGael side that has Cork U21 forward Don O’Driscoll in their ranks – he has the ability to be a game-changer this Saturday in Enniskeane, at 4.30pm.
The meeting of last year’s ‘B’ finalists Mathúnas and Kilmacabea in Drimoleague on Saturday (4.30pm) has the potential to be one of the games of the weekend. Mathúnas will take confidence from last year’s performances that saw them go all the way to the final before losing to a good Kilmeen side. Kilmacabea have a number of players – Martin Collins, Niall Hayes and Richie O’Sullivan – from the club’s junior side that reached last year’s West Cork JAFC final for the first time in Kilmac’s history.
The other two quarter-finals this weekend will see Urhan take on Ibane Gaels, and Ballinascarthy meet Bandon.
Urhan v Ibane Gaels
Saturday (12th), Castletownkenneigh, time TBC
Ibane Gaels are an amalgamation of Barryroe and Argideen Rangers and last season they beat Kilmacabea before losing to Ballinscarthy in the quarter-final by a single point. They have about 11 of that side remaining.
Most of their pre-season work has been done in the astroturf in Timoleague and they have played a few challenges. They are hoping to build on last year’s fine minor football success and will have about five of that winning team in action.
Goalkeeper Connor Madden, John Whelton, Padraig Moloney, captain Daniel Hurley and Andrew McCarthy will backbone the side. Mentors include Donal Holland, Norman Fleming, Michael O’Callaghan (trainer) and Alan O’Leary.
Urhan will field a very young side and they lost to O’Donovan Rossa last season. Only four of the team will be over minor age as they begin to build on the U14 and U16 success of recent seasons. Good news is that have good numbers to pick from and six of the team were involved with the successful Castletown Community College. Two years ago they lost to Ibane by about six points. Cork underage player Killian O’Shea will be their main man in this game.
Ibane will start clear favourites in this clash and their older and stronger side should progress to the semi-final.
Ballinascarthy v Bandon
Sunday (13th), Kilbrittain, 3pm
Ballinascarthy got over a tricky first round game last weekend against Gabriel Rangers. They blew hot and cold in this game, in heavy conditions, starting and finishing strongly.
The midfield pairing of Cork minor Sean Ryan and the strong Cathal Nyhan provides the fulcrum of the side, while Colin Crowley and Daniel O’Brien backbone a steady defence and up front, brothers Luke and Ben Murray, Darren O’Donovan and Sean Condon provide the fire-power.
Bandon have regraded to B for the first time, losing a good game to Castlehaven in A last season. Their team is built around last year’s successful minor team, which won the county B title. Intermediate players Pa O’Brien, Jonathan Mulcahy and Adam Murphy will backbone the side with the Fogarty twins, Colm and Rory, Joe O’Mahony, Conor Lynch and Timmy McCarthy also providing experience. Frank Lyons manages the team.
While football is on a high in Bandon right now and the Lilywhites should have an advantage in size, vital in the present heavy conditions, Bal’s first-round game and their fine balance all through the team might just swing a tight contest their way.