Collins relishing chance to prove skills in border skirmish
THE age old rivalry of Cork and Kerry in football generates considerable appeal and the meeting of Millstreet and Brosna in a Munster JAFC semi-final holds an intriguing look about it in Brosna on Sunday.
On paper, Millstreet are up against it for the track record of Cork teams in this championship over the past decade is pretty disappointing. Not since Canovee on a semi-final win over Keel in 2007 have a Cork side registered a victory over the Kingdom.
Indeed Kerry sides have dominated Munster in an impressive haul of nine outright wins from the past ten years. From 2008, Éire Óg faltered to Cappawhite of Tipperary with eventual honours belonging to Skellig Rangers.
Subsequently the run of defeats for Cork champions continued, second best for Glanworth (Castlegregory), Cloyne (St Mary's, Cahirsiveen), Kanturk (Dromid Pearses), Rockchapel (Kenmare) and Mitchelstown (Keel).
Though Milstreet face into the lion's den, key forward Tadhg Collins is looking forward to the challenge.
"It's a huge test for us to be crossing the county bounds and coming up against the Kerry champions. All involved with Millstreet are just thrilled to be playing championship football in November and with a degree of luck, the campaign can be extended."
The loss of key men Kevin Crowley to injury and Michael Murphy owing to taking up a work assignment in China this week is sure to put a sizeable strain on Millstreet's resources yet substitutes sprang from the bench have played a key role en route to this provincial semi-final.
"Many of our games were pretty tight, coming good in the closing stages in Duhallow and the county, that's a firm indicator of Millstreet possessing a strong panel," said Collins.
Millstreet hold the satisfaction of entering the semi final on the back of a comfortable victory over Clare champions Naomh Eoin, helped by two first goals from Collins.
"In some ways, it was our best performance all season, helped by the fact that the pressure was off after winning both divisional and county titles. The goals gave us a cushion, for the second half, we decided to start from scratch and kept pushing on to add on the scores," he said.
Given the pedigree of Kerry teams in this championship, Millstreet are considered outsiders yet Collins believes that will not lessen their desire to upset the odds on high flying Brosna that disposed of hotly fancied Glenbeigh / Glencar and 2011 Munster champions Dromid Pearses over the past two weekends.
"Everybody involved in the team is looking forward to the game, we are the underdogs but Millstreet will not lack effort. Home advantage is sure to favour Brosna, but if we get the right bounce of the ball, it may be good enough to reach a Munster final."