By Brian McDonnell
Séamus Quinn’s Thurles Sarsfields return to action next Sunday (2.30pm) when they face Sarsfields of Cork at Semple Stadium in a Munster senior club hurling semi-final.
Thurles will enter the game as favourites, but the Cork champions should not be discounted.
Three times in the last five years (2008, 2010 & 2012) Sarsfields have claimed the Cork senior hurling title and although their provincial campaigns ended reasonably mutely in 2008 and 2010 these maturing Rebels will be eager to impress on Sunday.
Sarsfields GAA club, the home of hurling legends like Teddy McCarthy, is located in the Riverstown-Glanmire area of East Cork.
In all Sarsfields have won the Cork senior hurling championship five times - 1951, 1957, 2008, 2010 & 2012.
Sarsfields got the better of Bishopstown in the Cork senior hurling final on Sunday, October 7th (1-15 to 1-13) - Bishopstown were chasing a first-ever title, but Sarsfields proved too slick for them at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
A late Robert O’Driscoll goal handed the initiative to the east Cork side and while Bishopstown struck for a late three-pointer of their own Sarsfields, ultimately, proved the more accomplished outfit.
Sarsfields feature some brilliant players like inter-county corner-back Conor O’Sullivan, the emerging Daniel Kearney and former Wexford star Eoin Quigley form a fine partnership at midfield while up front the names of Cian McCarthy, Michael Cussen and Kieran Murphy will be familiar to supporters of the blue and gold.
Thurles Sarsfields will face into this contest in confident mood and will hope to build on their superb win (2-12 to 0-15) over Kilmallock at the quarter-final stage.
Goals from Pa Bourke and Lar Corbett proved key to that win as did the brilliance of Pádraic Maher at centre-back.
With Thurles Sarsfields improving all the time the Tipperary champions will have to be fancied to win this semi-final and book their place in the decider against either Newmarket-on-Fergus (Clare) or De La Salle (Waterford) on Sunday, November 25th.
Munster Junior Championship
South Tipperary’s Kilsheelan-Kilcash are also in provincial action this weekend when they take on St Kieran’s of Limerick in the Munster junior club championship at Feenagh on Saturday afternoon )2pm).