Charleville expected to get the better of O'Neills in intriguing semi-final
County PIHC Semi Final: Charleville v Fr O'Neills, Saturday, October 6, Kilworth, 4.30pm
Charleville will take their challenge for the PIHC title to Kilworth this Saturday afternoon where they will face Fr O'Neill's for a place in the 2018 showpiece game.
After impressing throughout the competition this season Charleville will need to up the ante again this time round as they face up to a side that many believe have their names on this particular tournament from the first day of the season.
Charleville come into this one after seeing off the side that have halted their progress on more than one occasion in recent years, Fermoy, and will be buoyed by the display they put in last time out in the sunshine at Buttevant's GAA Grounds.
On that day Cork star Darragh Fitzgibbon was key however the midfield general was far from the only one to impress on the day with Danny O'Flynn, Mark Kavanagh, Andrew Cagney and Tim Hawe all put in major shifts up front. At the back keeper Cian Collins played well with Jack O'Callaghan another that stood out from the crowd.
Declan Dalton and Billy Dunne will be the major threats for Fr O'Neills with Liam O'Driscoll and Cillian Broderick along with Ger Millerick all likely to be influential on the attacking front for O'Neills.
The rear guard of Colin Sloane in goal, Dan Harrington, Tom Millerick and Mark O'Keeffe in the full back line will look to keep Kavanagh and O'Flynn at bay from the first to the final whistle.
This one will be won and lost in the middle third and Charleville may well have an ace up their sleeve in this particular part of the field.
O'Flynn is likely to start up front however after a game winning change in the quarter-final don't be surprised to see the hugely talented and committed forward coming back to centre field to shore up that area leaving Fitzgibbon free to cause maximum damage.
Fr O'Neills have shown they have a serious eye for goal and will heap pressure on the men in red throughout this fixture.
Both sides have been close before and both will feel this is their chance to move to senior and while there is another hurdle to be jumped following this one few could argue that this fixture is the main draw left in this competition.
This could and probably should be one of the games of the season. Both these sides can almost taste senior hurling however 60 - 70 minutes, and perhaps even more, will be needed this weekend to seal a place in the final - nothing to choose between the sides however Charleville for me look up for this championship like never before so my vote goes to the Avondhu men.