The Sem will be slight favourites to top­ple Tralee CBS

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT - Ja­son O’Con­nor


St Bren­dan’s Col­lege Kil­lar­ney v Tralee CBS

Wed­nes­day, Jan­uary 16 Time and venue tbc

NOR­MALLY it’s a fi­nal you would as­so­ciate with such a pair­ing, but it will be an in­ter­est­ing re­newal of the county’s old­est Post-Pri­mary ri­valry this day week at a Kil­lar­ney venue. The Sem won the last in­stal­ment in the 2017 fi­nal while The Green went on to suf­fer an­other loss in last year’s de­cider to Pobalscoil Cor­cha Dhuib­hne. The Sem have been more im­pres­sive in the cam­paign thus far, win­ning all three of their Group games against Kil­lor­glin, Clon­akilty and Mercy Moun­thawk as they look to claim a vic­tory over an­other Tralee out­fit this time.

The only blem­ish has been the loss of the O’Sul­li­van Cup which they held for five straight sea­sons, but man­ager Gary Mc­Grath sees the ben­e­fit in the ex­pe­ri­ence of los­ing to Pobalscoil like they did in the semi-fi­nal.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s a com­pe­ti­tion (O’Sul­li­van Cup) that means a lot to us and we were dis­ap­pointed to lose but we had a lot of younger play­ers out there that day that hadn’t ex­pe­ri­enced that level, be­fore so it was a good way for them to learn about what is re­quired at this level,” the Sem man­ager said.

De­spite the weather pre-Christ­mas de­lay­ing the com­ple­tion of their group, one ad­van­tage of the mild weather had been the abil­ity to get de­cent ses­sions done Mc­Grath be­lieves.

The Green, mean­while, have had a shorter cam­paign in the Corn Uí Mhuirí, los­ing their open­ing match to St Fran­cis Rochestown be­fore en­sur­ing their place in the knock­out stages with a win over Co­laiste Chriost Rí in their se­cond match. Fin­ish­ing on time, un­like some of the other groups, has cre­ated a bit of a wait for them to re­sume at this level but se­lec­tor Mike Tim O’Sul­li­van said it had its ad­van­tages.

“We had a few in­juries that needed time off to heal and with the Hurl­ing Fi­nal with Moun­thawk as well it al­lowed time for there to be a bit of fo­cus on that for the play­ers who were in­volved. We had a bad day against Rochestown the first day while we prob­a­bly got the rub of the green against Chriost Rí,” O’Sul­li­van feels.

He iden­ti­fies their tran­si­tion play from de­fence into at­tack as a big area they must im­prove on if they are to beat St Bren­dans.

“You have to be at your best to beat them no mat­ter what stage of the com­pe­ti­tion you play them, they are such a tough school to play against no mat­ter how they are go­ing.”

One ad­van­tage for Tralee CBS is no ma­jor in­jury wor­ries; St Bren­dans are still wait­ing on All-Ire­land Mi­nor win­ning mid­fielder Dar­ragh Lyne who hasn’t played in the last two months with a back is­sue, but Mc­Grath is cau­tious about the chal­lenge of the Green for the Sem next week.

“They have been very un­lucky not to have made the break- through in the last few years and I know they will see this as a great op­por­tu­nity to take a step in the right di­rec­tion. Our sim­ple ap­proach to this game is to try and im­prove on our last per­for­mance each time.”

All-Ire­land win­ning Mi­nor cap­tain Paul O’Shea will carry the main threat for St Bren­dans along­side his team-mates from that side in Marc Kel­li­her, Pa­trick D’Arcy and Michael Leni­han. Ryan O’Grady and Em­met O’Shea will pose the Green prob­lems as well as Sean Quil­ter, Devon Burns, Tadhg Brick, Eoin Carr and Daire Keane amongst oth­ers need big per­for­mances if they are to stop the might of the Kil­lar­ney side.

The CBS will throw every­thing at the chal­lenge but The Sem prob­a­bly have too many op­tions for them to deal with on the day.

Ver­dict: St Bren­dans Col­lege

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