Leinster Colleges senior hurling A quarter-finals
St Kieran’s College v Dublin North Ratheniska, Laois: Saturday 2pm
With Pat Treacy
St Kieran’s College put their Provincial and All-Ireland titles on the line as they square up to north Dublin College on Saturday.
St Kieran’s have trained very hard for this encounter, with a mixture of challenge games and training sessions over the past five weeks. The defending champions have had a few players sidelined with various injuries during the past fortnight with Enda Morrissey, Willie Allen, Diarmuid Cody, Aidan Cleere, and David Hennessy all picking up various knocks.
However the management team of John O’Keeffe, David McCormack, and Ken Archbold should have a fairly full squad from which to choose. Bennettsbridge’s Robert Lannon captains the team from full back with Robert O’Hanrahan and Emmet Byrne also part of a very solid and experienced defensive unit. Midfield is anchored by the inform Peter Kenneally with Michael Donnelly and Ciarán Prendergast forming the spine of the attack.
North Dublin are a huge threat to the champions, with dual stars Ciarán Kilkenny and Seán Costelloe in their ranks. It is hard to judge the challengers as they rested a lot of players during the league as Dublin minor hurlers and footballers reached the All-Ireland finals.
St Kieran’s are setting out on the trail of three-in-a-row championship successes, but the general consensus is that they are not as good as last year, when Willie Phelan, Cillian Buckley, Conor O’Shea, and John Power backboned the team. But they have more than half last year’s team and that experience should give them an edge in what will be a very tight game on Saturday.
Castlecomer CS v Coláiste Eoin
Dr Cullen Park: Saturday 2pm
Castecomer Community School have proven to be very difficult opponents over the past number of years.
They have been punching above their weight every season. This year is no different for them.
The team has a great work ethic with Robert Moran at centre back, Luke Maher in midfield, while Charles O’Dwyer is the chief score taker in the forwards. O’Dwyer from Ballinakill generally starts at wing forward, but there is a strong argument for placing him on the edge of the square as he is likely to give the team more of a focus in the forwards. This is a team that will win plenty of possession but they can be wayward with their shooting and maybe O’Dwyer in front of goal would solve that.
Castlecomer’s opponents Coláiste Eoin, Dublin, will be worthy opponents with players from hurling strongholds such as Ballyboden St Enda’s and Kilmacud.
If Castlecomer can turn possession into more scores they can qualify for the semi-finals.
Kilkenny CBS v Good Counsel
Thomastown: Saturday 2pm
Kilkenny CBS have a solid look about them.
They have a good defence anchored by former Kilkenny minor star Eoin McGrath at centre half back with Mason Clifford on the wing. Evan Cody patrols the edge of the square with his Dicksboro clubmate Enda Holohan an agile keeper between the posts.
Midfield has an impressive look about it, with Jack Langton of Clara and the powerful Danesfort man Darragh Sheehan forming a formidable pairing. The attack revolves around full forward Ciarán Doyle – and with Eoin Fennelly coming back to full fitness, the CBS will be hoping for a greater spread of scores in attack. The forward division also sports the young and highly rated Dicksboro pair Kevin Kenny and Robbie Fitzpatrick.
Good Counsel have three key players from Kilkenny on board. Ciarán Ryan from the Rower-Inistioge who plays centre half back, Mullinavat’s Mark Mansfield in the number 11 shirt, and Mark Aylward from Glenmore at corner forward.
Kilkenny CBS appear to be the better balanced team and should edge into the semi-finals.