IF Clonakilty Community College can replicate the form they showed in the first game of this season’s Corn Uí Mhuirí, then they’ve a good chance of causing an upset against Hamilton High School in next Wednesday’s quarter-final (venue TBC), says Clon boss Micheál O’Sullivan.
After losing all their group games in the previous two Corn Uí Mhuirí campaigns, Clonakilty CC hit the ground running when they beat Mercy Mounthawk 2-11 to 1-11 in their Group D opener in October.
Conor Hayes scored two goals that day but it was the performance that pleased Micheál O’Sullivan the most.
He saw enough to know his team could make their presence felt in Munster this season.
‘Our best performance was the first game against Mounthawk. Our work-rate was phenomenal, we out-worked and outplayed them, we didn’t give them any space or time, and if we can replicate that against the Hammies, we won’t be far away at the end,’ the current Carbery Rangers senior manager said.
In a group with three Kerry schools – St Brendan’s College Killarney, IS Killorglin and Mounthawk – and given how the Kingdom has bossed this competition in recent years and Clonakilty CC’s poor recent record, surviving to the knock-out stages is an achievement in itself.
‘We targeted the games against Mounthawk and Killorglin and hoped to have a right cut off Killarney,’ O’Sullivan said.
‘The first game went well against Mounthawk, we got a bit of a hiding against Killarney but we got it together again against Killorglin.
‘To finish second was the aim at the start and we did that.’
The less said about the 4-16 to 0-5 hammering against St Brendan’s, the better, but Clonakilty CC did regroup to beat Killorglin 0-17 to 0-3 in the last round to book their place in the last eight.
Ryan O’Donovan (Ibane Gaels) kicked six points and he is one of the main men in attack, along with John Patrick Eady (Carbery Rangers), Padraic Cullinane (Ballinascarthy) and Brian White (Clonakilty), the latter the younger brother of Cork seniors Sean and Mark.
Ballinascarthy’s Ciarán Nyhan mans the midfield, he was full back on the Cork U17 hurling team that won All-Ireland in 2017, while the defence includes full back Jack Lawton (Ibane Gaels), centre back Jack Wycherley and Dan Peate (both Clonakilty) and captain Darragh O’Connor (Dohenys).
This Clonakilty CC team includes players from Clonakilty, Ibane Gaels, Ballinascarthy, Kilmeen, Dohenys and Carbery Rangers, and they’re all aware of the threat of Hamilton High.
‘It’s better the devil you know that the devil you don’t, O’Sullivan said, adding the teams, both understrength, met in a challenge game earlier in the season.
‘We’d have a fair idea what they have and they have a fair idea of what we have. It would be different if you were drawn against Flannans or Dingle where you wouldn’t be familiar with their players.
‘I see this as a 50-50 game. They had a good win against Dingle that was unexpected and they will go into this game as favourites off the back of that, but I see it as 50-50.
‘If we turn up and perform we have a good chance of winning.’
Hard-working, committed and having the right attitude – that’s how O’Sullivan describes this current Clonakilty CC team that nearly all played in last season’s Corn Uí Mhuirí so have that experience.
They’ll need to call on all their know-how against Hamilton High, but O’Sullivan is backing his team to come out on top in this derby, provided they hit the right notes.
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