Hurling: O'CONNELL TREAT; GAELIC GOSSIP: Michael's Goodies Too Rich for Offaly
Gill, Barry, Sunday Mirror (London, England)
TENDERFOOT Michael O'Connell is primed to take CORK'S young guns on a giant stride past defending All Ireland champions OFFALY and into the final today.
Midfield sensation O'Connell's form has been quite outstanding and already, regardless of the outcome of this semi-final showdown in front of a sell- out 56,000 Croke Park crowd, he is on course for an All Star award.
O'Connell must show great leadership this afternoon despite his tender years . . . but he's ready to serve up a treat in keeping with the importance of the occasion.
"It's been a great run so far for us all," he says. "To win the Munster crown was very rewarding and now we're off to Croke Park - every player wants to perform there and for us it's the same.
"Down here in Cork everyone is on a crest of a wave . . . what with the footballers and the hurlers doing the double. We will travel this weekend full of confidence and to be facing the champions is just mighty."
O'Connell's gang of thrusting youngsters against hurling's elder statesmen could provide yet another epic chapter in the history of the game this season.
New-look Croke Park and the Canal end gets bigger and better every week but in the run up to the final series in the All Ireland there simply aren't enough seats to cater for all the fans anxious to watch their heroes in action. The potential is there for Cork's young bucks to suffer stage fright against Offaly's tried and trusted stars - men such as defender supreme Joe Dooley (below) who ranks as one of the greatest players to have graced the game. …