McGrath Cup Semi-Final Preview

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The McGrath Cup enters the semi final stages and with Tipperary and three Cork teams still left in the competition we will be guaranteed at least one finalist from the Rebel County.

Cork v CIT Pairc Ui Rinn 2pm

It will be an all Cork clash in Pairc Ui Rinn on Sunday when a much changed Cork side take on CIT for a place in the final. Both sides had bys into the quarter finals.

Rebels manager Conor Counihan has made seven changes to the side that beat Clare so convincingly last weekend with Ken O’Halloran, Conor O’Driscoll, Aidan O’Reilly, James Fitzpatrick, Alan O’Connor, Fiachra Lynch and Seanie Cahalane all stepping aside as David Lordan, Sean Kiely, Paudie Kissan, midfielders Pearse O’Neill and Michéal Ó Laoire with Patrick Kelly and Paul Kerrigan up front all come in.

Ballyclough man Colm O’Neill scorer of two goals on his comeback match last weekend will get another chance to improve his fitness as he starts again while Graham Canty continues in defence.

CIT are in the semi final courtesy of their 2-15 to 1-05 win over IT Tralee and will once again look to Donal Og Hodnett for inspiration. Hodnett, who has also played for the under-21 Cork Footballers will be hoping to add to his 1-06 last weekend and impress Counihan in the process.

Despite the changes Cork head into the game as strong favourites to win this clash against the 2005 runners up.

Cork team: D Lordan; E Cotter, R Carey, K Harrington; S Kiely, G Canty, P Kissane; P O’Neill, M Ó Laoire; P Kelly, P Kerrigan, L Shorten; C O’Neill, F Goold, K O’Sullivan.

Tipperary v UCC Clonmel Sportsground 2pm

Both teams have already surpassed last year’s efforts with beaten quarter finalist Tipperary up against a UCC side that failed to get past the preliminary stages in 2011. John Evan’s side have been prolific so far with 6-29 to date in their victories over Limerick IT and Waterford IT.

UCC meanwhile won’t fear fortress Clonmel after their success on the road last time out, the beaten Munster Club finalists proving too strong for Limerick in Rathkeale, running out 1-19 to 0-10 point winners. That was their first match of the 2012 and the current Cork Senior Football Champions and Sigerson cup holders will have their eye on a second final in three years after their 2009 loss to Kerry.

Paul Geaney and goal scorer Marc Collins impressed for the students last time out and the students will look to both players again this weekend to inspire UCC to an all Cork showdown.

Evan’s meanwhile will look to McGrath’s cup top scorer Barry Grogan, who scored 3-03 against Waterford last weekend to continue his fine early season form while there could also be a start for Michael Quinlivan, the All Ireland winning Minor Captain, who scored 1-01 after coming on in the second half last weekend.

UCC will start as favourites but with Grogan in such good form and home support Tipperary won’t make life easy for the students.


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