Sport

One giant will fall as Kilmacs and St Mary's clash in tie of the round

August 26th, 2022 4:00 PM

By Matthew Hurley

St Mary's Brian McCarthy holds off the challenge of Kilmacabea’s Declan O’Sullivan during their 2021 clash.

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THIS is the tie of the round.

Meeting on Sunday in a quarter-final of the Carbery JAFC are 2020 champions Kilmacabea and 2014 victors St Mary’s (3.30pm in Rossmore).

Kilmacabea manager Shane Crowley is reasonably happy with his side’s progression so far. They finished runners-up in Group 3, behind Bal.

‘We’d be happy to a certain extent with our performances, but we still know we have a bit to go to beat Marys. We have a lot of improvements to do,’ Crowley admitted.

‘We played reasonably well against Kilbrittain (winning 2-14 to 0-5). That win gave us a bit of a cushion going into the other games. The Clon game was about getting over the line, which we did eventually (winning 3-11 to 0-8). It was frustrating the way we kicked some scores away but they’re things we are working on and hopefully we’ll get it right on Sunday.’

Some may remember Brian McCarthy scoring 0-4 in St Mary’s early Group 2 win over St James (3-12 to 1-13). He has since injured his cruciate and has now taken up a selector role for the rest of the season.

‘As teams, we know each other fairly well having played a couple of times over the last number of years. Kilmacabea and Tadhg MacCarthaigh have been the standout teams in the championship over the last five or six years. We know we’re up against it but we’re looking forward to it. We have a young team and we’re ready to go,’ said McCarthy.

The Ballineen/Enniskeane outfit is one of only three teams to have a 100 percent win record coming into the quarter-finals.

‘We’re going well. We started off the year on a bad note, losing our first four games in the league and then we played Carbery Rangers in a league game and got a win. We dug it out,’ said McCarthy.

‘We got a bit of confidence after that game, got a few fellas back from injury. We are now unbeaten in the championship. Three wins from the three and we’re looking to maintain that form.’

Meanwhile, Shane Crowley is hopeful that star man Damien Gore will be fit to line out on Sunday, but the Kilmacs will be missing a number of big players for the last-eight tie.

‘Two guys that would be more long term are Darren Whooley, who got an impact injury on his knee. He’s out, he needed an operation,’ said Crowley.

‘Another guy is Niall Hayes, out more medium term. We’ll be hoping that the others missing against Clon will return. A lot of those (absentees) were just precautionary injuries but at the same time they weren’t 100 percent, so we couldn’t risk them.’

The Leap outfit have had a number of absentees throughout the year, but this has helped them in a way.

‘There are still young lads like Liam McCarthy at 17 years of age. Owen Tobin is another good player. (Injuries) has given a chance to the younger lads. If you had the full squad available all the time, these lads wouldn’t be getting their go and they’re putting their hands up for selection. It provides competition for places which is only a good thing,’ said Crowley.

Other than McCarthy and Chris Daly, who went over on his knee against Castlehaven, St Mary’s have no injury concerns. Out of all the junior A teams left, Marys have hit the back of the net the most times (eight). Full forwards Darren O’Donovan and Niall Kelleher have contributed to half that tally.

‘The two lads inside work on goal scoring a lot in training. They try to be as ruthless as they can. There’s nothing specific that we work on, that’s their nature. They like to put their head down and go for it and it’s been working well so far,’ McCarthy admitted.

Let the battle commence.

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