Kilmacabea in pole position to land title

August 4th, 2017 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Kilmacabea forward Damian Gore.

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KIERAN McCARTHY ranks the four teams left fighting it out in the Carbery JAFC

KIERAN McCARTHY ranks the four teams left fighting it out in the Carbery JAFC

1. Kilmacabea

Even before the weekend many saw Kilmacabea as the favourites and now with both Tadhg MacCarthaigh and St Colum's knocked out, the Leap outfit are the team to beat; it's theirs to lose in many respects.

Beaten finalists in 2015, this team retains many of the side that lost to Bandon in that year's final, and the addition of former Cork minor forward Damien Gore has definitely improved their attack – he has scored 1-18 (ten frees) in his two games against O'Donovan Rossa and Ballinascarthy.

Strong in defence with Niall Hayes and Clive Sweetnam, Martin Collins and Joseph Collins form the midfield partnership, and along with Gore, Richie O'Sullivan, Timmy Nyhan and Donnacha McCarthy have been contributing in attack.

Verdict: Will be too strong for Plunkett's in the semi-final.

2. St Mary's

A team that failed to get past the third round last year is now in the last four, and off the back of their win against St Colum's last Sunday evening, you'd fancy St Mary's to get back into the West Cork final for the first time since they won the championship in 2014.

After losing to Castlehaven in round one they've regrouped with wins against Ilen Rovers, Kilmeen and now Colum's, and they'll be tipped to get past Kilbrittain in this weekend's semi-final.

From Brian Corcoran in goal, Peter Daly and Stephen Keohane in defence, captain Rory O'Connor in midfield, to an attack that's home to Chris Daly, Niall Kelleher, Jason Collins and John Daly, this is a strong Mary's team that has now come through two tough tests against Kilmeen and Colum's.

Verdict: An appearance in the final is on the cards – but will be interesting to see how they juggle their hurling commitments.

3. St Oliver Plunkett's

One of the surprise packets, not many expected Plunkett's to be involved at this stage but they're here on merit, with their quarter-final win against Tadhg MacCarthaigh coming on the back of wins against Carbery Rangers and Muintir Bhaire after they had lost to Barryroe in the preliminary round.

Conor O'Driscoll has been in scoring form these past few games and what has caught the eye is the spread of scorers in the team, with eight different men on the score-sheet in the past two games.

The recent return of Kevin Coffey and Conor McCarthy has strengthened the team, and they have had a consistent team selection, too, with 14 of the players who started the win against Ross last month starting against Caheragh.

Verdict: They're an experienced team but Kilmacabea should have too much in attack.

4. Kilbrittain

Last year's county junior B champions received a bye in round three so it's only taken them two games to get to the last four – and they were a 4-8 to 0-7 first-round win against Dohenys and a 3-11 to 1-11 quarter-final win against Barryroe. What those two games taught us is that Kilbrittain can score – Declan Harrington (3-3), Noel Griffin (1-7), Conor O'Donovan (2-0) and John O'Donovan (1-2) all working the scoreboard.

This is bonus territory for Kilbrittain and they'll be outsiders against St Mary's but that might suit them, all to win and nothing to lose.

Verdict: They've done well to get this far but Mary's are more battle-hardened after the past few weeks.

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