Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Finals – 11/9/’11

C.I.T. 3-15 Newtownshandrum 1-7

A surprise hammering for Newtown here as C.I.T. put down a huge marker going into the senior final in early October. C.I.T. put together an impressively complete performance, working hard throughout and showing the kind of determination usually not seen from a college side in club hurling; in contrast, Newtown’ s performance was flat and leaden foot from beginning to end, their half-forward destroyed in the air  and their once much vaunted running game nowhere to be seen. Very simply this was as complete a victory as C.I.T. could have ever have hoped for.

For Newtown, their problems were numerous. As noted, their half-forward line failed to win any ball in the air or for that matter on the ground while the O’Connors and JP King struggled badly to deal with the speed and workrate of their C.I.T. counterparts in the middle third of the pitch. In general their best known players performed without impact, bar Pat Mulcahy who did his best to hold the Newtown defence together. Neither Jamie Coughlan or Micheal Bowles were given much supply throughout. At the back Gerry O’Mahony and Jack Herlihy put in good shifts but it wasn’t enough to cover the inept display of Brendan Mulcahy in particular, while up front only Ryan Clifford truly shone despite little supply, the close control displayed in his individual goal in the second half probably the game’s standout moment. In general this was a display lacking completely in the energy one expects from a Newtown side and considering the age of a number of their star players suggests their dominance of club hurling in Cork is truly at an end.

For C.I.T., there were few poor performers. Once again Michael O’Sullivan and David Drake stood out as the on-field leaders for the institute, both working tirelessly and playing huge amounts of ball throughout. Up front, Simon O’Brien in particular stood out, his pair of goals expertly taken while Tommy Quaid was excellent from the deadball and pilfered a number of points from play. Aidan Walsh failed largely to win any clean ball but worked very hard and got a number of hooks and blocks and generally exemplified the effort of the C.I.T. side. Elsewhere Brendan Withers put in a error free and effortless display at the back, while Eoin Dillon and Ross Cashman were solid. Finally, Lorcan McLoughlin had a fine second half and showed some of the distribution and strength needed from him for Cork next year. In general this is a very well rounded C.I.T. team with no noticeable weaknesses and an impressive engine in the middle third of the pitch. If they want it enough, a victory over Carrigtwohill should be there’s.

Carrigtwohill 1-10 Midleton 0-10

A second even bigger shock on Sunday resulted in the defeat of favourites Midleton by the hands of their next door neighbours Carrigtwohill. A tight tense affair throughout, Midleton’s star forwards Luke O’Farrell and Conor Lehane were given limited supply thanks to Carrigtwohill’s dominance at midfield whilst Micheal Fitzgerald’s excellently worked goal just gave Carrig the edge. In truth Midleton never quite got going up front, their lack of goal chances and ball inside a credit to the dominance and work ethic of Noel Furlong, Liam O’Sullivan, Colm O’Connell etc further out the pitch. This was very much a victory built on hooking, blocking, harassing and cleaning up breaking ball.

For Midleton, there were a few impressive performers. At center back, Aidan Ryan put in a solid performance and was the best of the backs, while up front Conor Lehane and Patrick White were the pick of the forwards, both pretty lively despite largely living off scraps. Unfortunately, both Midleton’s full-back line and midfield had days to forget – Carrigtwohill’s decision to put Niall McCarthy at corner-forward at different times along with Robert White’s always dangerous performance ensured the Midleton inside line was in danger throughout. The goal in particular stands-out to suggest Midleton’s ineptitude at the back, with Robert White dummying a Midleton defender before an unmarked Niall McCarthy handed the ball off to an even more unmarked Fitzgerald. In midfield, the strong partnership of Seamus O’Farrell and Cormac Walsh failed badly to get a grip on play, although the latter played well in the second half.

For Carrig, its hard to pick out a player that didn’t perform well. The defense was miserly throughout, and in Noel Furlong Carrig have the outstanding center-back in the county this year. In the middle third in general Colm O’Connell and Liam O’Sullivan won and carried massive amounts of loose ball, even if the latter was prone to over-soloing. Up front, Micheal Fitzgerald took his goal well but in general Niall McCarthy and Robert White stood out, Niall scoring five points from play and showed the kind of physicality that none of the Midleton defenders could match. Likewise Robert White offered a real touch of class and largely made the match-winning goal. In general Carrigtwohill out-muscled, out-worked and out-fought their opponents and are deservedly through to a rare county final.

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