| 14.8°C Dublin

Cork hurling star Ellis is key for Millstreet


If their performance in the quarter final is anything to go by, Millstreet couldn't be in better shape heading into next Sunday's clash with Brosna.

The Cork kingpins were very impressive as they thrashed Clare standard-bearers Naomh Eoin to the tune of 3-14 to 0-9, a result which extended their winning sequence to eight games in championship football this year.

They had found the going a lot tougher in all of their previous outings, not least in the county final against a hotly-fancied St Finbarr's side containing several players with senior experience at club level, including Roy Leahy, who won an All-Ireland Under 21 medal in 2007, and former Cork senior Jim O'Donoghue.

On the backfoot for much of the contest, Millstreet, six points adrift at the three-quarter stage, produced a storming finish to run out winners by 1-9 to 1-8, displaying a never-say-die attitude that has been a key factor in their progress all season.

This is Kerry Newsletter

The top stories from the Kingdom in news and sport, direct to your inbox every week

This field is required

Not everyone was convinced they had what was required to make an impact in the Munster club championship, however, especially since Cork teams have finished among the also-rans in a competition dominated by Kerry sides since 2008.

Their compelling display against Naomh Eoin suggests they are worthy of the utmost respect, and team manager Willie O'Leary was certainly bullish about their prospects in the wake of it.

While accepting it's likely to be big step-up from the Naomh Eoin game, O'Leary contends that his charges are well capable of rising to the challenge against Brosna.

"I honestly believe it's all coming right for us now, we have improved steadily over the course of what has been a very long season, and I see no reason why that pattern won't continue.

"We played brilliantly against Naomh Eoin, so I'm convinced we are in as good a shape as we have been all year, and we are really looking forward to testing ourselves against the Kerry champions," he revealed.

The dominance enjoyed by Cork senior hurler Mark Ellis and Patrick Coleman - whose father John won an All-Ireland senior football medal in 1973 - at midfield was instrumental in smoothing Millstreet's path to victory in the quarter final, and it won't be easy for Brosna to prevent them from gaining a foothold in this sector on Sunday.

Deep-lying full forward Michael Murphy can usually be relied upon to get through an amount of effective work around the middle as well, while, in Michael Vaughan - an All-Ireland junior medal-winner with Cork in 2013 - and Tadgh Collins, Millstreet possess two corner-forwards with the potential to inflict severe damage when provided with any sort of a decent service.

It's obviously a blow to Millstreet's ambitions that Kevin Crowley is ruled by injury for the provincial campaign, but, much as he would like to have their current Cork senior on board, Willie O'Leary is hopeful they will be able to cope in his absence.